Move over, Dear Sophie. There’s a new Google ad tearjerker in town.
Google released a video advertisement on March 23 on YouTube, that aired on TV during an NCAA Final Four game Saturday, using Google search terms, business listings on Google maps, and Google calendar events to illustrate the country’s transition to life after COVID-19 closings lift.
Replicating the format of the 2009 ad Parisian Love, it tells a story through typed search queries and other Google products. The video begins with searches for terms like “quarantine” and “social distancing.” Then, things begin to change when the search term “sweat pants” gets changed to just “pants.” Virtual events on the Google calendar become regular playdates and happy hours, not virtual ones. Google Maps business listings of restaurants and theaters get changed from “temporarily closed” to “open.” The word “Pandemic” gets deleted from the search phrase “Pandemic family activities” to become simply — sob — “family activities.” I’ll give you a minute to compose yourself.
The final search term is “covid vaccine near me,” with a call to action at the bottom to “learn more at cdc.gov.” According to CDC data, 40 percent of American adults have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly a quarter of American adults are fully vaccinated. The Biden administration recently upped its goal of 100 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days of the Biden presidency to 200 million shots. Despite some increases in COVID cases in eastern and southern states, the vaccine is making it possible for the world to reopen.
The slow return to normalcy has, for me, been shockingly emotional. I’ve savored the ability to hug my sister without fear or jubilantly jumped into planning a vacation. At the same time, it feels somehow unbelievable. Like the rug could be pulled out from under me at any moment. Those are the emotions Google taps into in the ad, which it calls “Get back to what you love.”
Google, we will.