Google Makes Advertising Not Look Like Advertising

This Google commercial, called Zeitgesit: Here’s to 2013, has been out for a couple of weeks now, but I hadn’t seen it until last night. Google has been doing the Zeitgeist ads for a few years now, and they’ve always been some of my favorite commercials of the year. And it seems that whenever I watch one of these, I always end up bawling the onion ninjas decide to come in and start chopping away. The onion ninjas don’t come often, so that’s a testament to how good these ads are.

I think the reason why these ads are so appealing is because they really don’t seem like commercials. People relate commercials to sales, and it’s become instinct for us to be skeptical when we watch them. But the Zeitgeist ads are different. They still sell, but they do so by telling a simple story.

People can relate to stories–especially our own. I can watch this commercial and remember each event Google portrays, which then reminds me of what was going on in my own life during those times. These commercials make people feel all warm and fuzzy, which in turn makes them forget about the sales and business behind the ad. We curb our skepticism for a moment and simply enjoy our memories of 2013.

But while we’re reveling in emotions from the birth of baby George to Batkid, Google is building brand equity. On the surface it appears that they’re simply telling a story through a search engine, but on a deeper level they’re associating all the beautiful memories of the year with their brand. So while we’re experiencing all the warm fuzzies, we’re thinking of Google. And the next time we’re deciding between a Chromebook and a MacBook or PC, maybe we’ll remember these warm fuzzies (if subconsciously) and go with Google.

The advertising geek in me is sitting here in awe at the beauty of these commercials, because it’s brilliant advertising. It doesn’t seem like business, but it is. It’s the blending of business and storytelling, which I think is the ultimate goal of advertising.


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