Among the rush of ads played during Super Bowl LI last week, one that particularly caught my attention was from Google in which they advertised their new “Google Home” device. This device is advertised as the “center” of the home as it is a voice activated assistant that can complete a variety of tasks. In a very crowded market Google needs this ad to be a successful method of pushing their new product that is already in competition with Amazon’s “Alexa” device.
Throughout the minute long ad there were many different symbols being shown, some obvious and some not. The perhaps most obvious one is the name of the product itself. The “home” name is there because it is supposed to be the center of one’s home and can control everything in it. Looking further, the ad also shows people of all races, genders, age, and sexualities, showing that this product is used by all people and can be used by all people. This in my opinion is all done to target all markets and to try to sell the product to all people watching the ad instead of a small, secluded sector of viewers. The many different and diverse people shown symbolize the consumers that, in Google’s eyes, can be all people. In addition, another symbol located in the opening part of the ad is the LGBT flag. In my opinion this flag being placed into the advertisement has two uses. One is related to the product as they want to show that all types of people use Google products. Next, I also think it was shown to simply make a statement of support on the biggest stage in television.
Another major component of analyzing this advertisement is looking into the psychoanalytic aspect of the ad. It seems to portray happy people while showing happy events and times, playing into the human desire for happiness and in a way is saying that this product can fulfill this. In addition, the song playing is John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” I felt that the inclusion of this song in particular was done to provide a positive atmosphere when viewing the commercial and to make the viewer feel good. The song is very popular and I feel that it was used so that a viewer can instantly relate to the ad and help them remember the advertisement or the product being displayed. In addition, I believe that the ad attracts attention to itself by using ordinary people so the viewer can put themselves into the shoes of the person in the ad. However, I also feel that the ad might be slightly manipulative as it tries to use emotional transfer to gather attention. The people displayed are all happy and in return this makes the viewer feel positive about the advertisement or product, pushing them to buy the device as it is shown bringing happiness.
One of the main aspects needed to be understood while analyzing this ad is the political economy of Google and the financial info about this particular ad and device. This device is very important to Google because as a company, their main focus is to sell ads, which is done through gathering data. Through this new device Google may be able to obtain more data and info from users than ever before and use this to further sell ads, fueling future profit. Google has already made a record profit from ad revenue this year, gathering $76 billion from advertising alone, so the intentions of Google while making this product are quite obvious. This aspect is so important to Google that they are even selling their device fifty dollars cheaper than Amazon’s, and because of this they are projected to overtake Amazon in this field within three years.
Despite being in the business of selling advertisements, Google has reportedly spent $4 billion on advertisements of their own in the last year alone. Although the price of Super Bowl ads are very high, this year costing $5 million for thirty seconds, running this ad during the Super Bowl was only a fraction of what they spend on advertising per year. This ad would have costed roughly 10$ million to air for Google, who are looking to make their money back by hoping a fraction of the 111 million people who watched Super Bowl LI either buy this Google Home device or simply use Google services.
In conclusion, the new Google Home ad that aired during Super Bowl LI was one that was met with great reception from a large amount of viewers on the largest stage in the television world. Google was able to advertise their new product through a great mixture of symbols and sounds. This was exemplified through the use of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” which instantly attracted any viewer and put them in a good mood for the rest of the advertisement. Furthermore the usage of a variety different types of people throughout the ad made it feel much more relatable to a large amount of viewers. Ultimately, through these methods Google was able to create a successful ad for their newest product when the world was watching.