Tech Ad-Ons is our new series in which we take a closer look at advertisements from tech companies, and analyze whether they hit or miss the mark.
An ad from Google is always a special event. And Google has been doing a fair number of these in India in recent times, and mostly to highlight its Google Maps service. For those just arrived on this planet, Google introduced Google Maps back in October 2004 and ever since then these virtual maps have helped us know routes around the world. The company has added various new features to the service with time which have made it much more easier for us to travel from one place to another – from showing coordinates, movement of the person using the maps to showing the traffic on the way, Google Maps has explained it all. Small wonder, it has over time gained the trust of millions of users.
To reach even more users, especially in India, Google has introduced a new ad for Google Maps, the Indian Wedding. But does it work? Let’s see.
The Ad Itself
The Indian Wedding is a very brief ad and sums up the message in just 0:45 seconds. The ad starts with a close up of a horse’s nose and then directly shifts to a group of people dancing on the road enthusiastically on the road with loud music. It comes across as a typical Indian wedding scene where the family of the groom is dancing on the road while the groom is sitting on a horse. Then the camera shifts back and shows a wider view of the situation. The aerial view depicts how because of the people dancing, the road is jam packed with vehicles, resulting in traffic stalling.
The entire picture then turns into a Google Map interface accompanied by a voice over. The road which is jam packed has turned into red colour which tells the users that there is traffic on this lane and that it will take the user 25 minutes to go through the lane.
The Google Maps interface, then slowly turns out to be the phone of a user who is looking at the route. The app then suggests he take another route which is relatively free and will save time (three minutes, to be precise). The voiceover talks about how the roads change colour in real time as the situation on the road changes and then shows the users taking the other, less congested, way. The ad is followed by the Google Maps logo after which there comes a hashtag saying #LookBeforeYouLeave.
Analysis: Message is right, implementation not quite
We think the idea behind the ad is totally on point. The situation given in the advertisement is something which all of us have faced at some point. We liked the idea of using the Indian wedding scenario as the reason behind the traffic and the timing seems apt because it is the wedding season and many people face the same problem during this time. The voice over does its job and the very wedding-ish background music in the ad justifies the theme. We love the tag line #LookBeforeYouLeave.
But what we do NOT like in the ad is the implementation.
We think Google missed the mark here. Although the ad is brief, gives a clear message and talks about the product and has all the elements for a great ad but the depiction has killed the essence of the idea. We simply did not like the complete the extreme close-up and the zoom out session, which somehow gave the ad a slightly “cheap” feel, as if it had been made by a company on a very tight budget. A far cry from the very simple and yet effective Allo ads (which we think are really cool). In fact, we think that the biggest problem with the ad is that it does not “feel” like a Google ad – perhaps we have grown too accustomed to the subtler messaging with relatively “quieter” implementation. This one feels too direct, if anything, and does not have the slightly “warm, feel good” factor that is the Google hallmark – there is zero emotional appeal here.
Yes, all in all the ad delivers the message and highlights a product functionality, but thanks to its rather flat implementation, just how many people will actually #LookBeforeLeaving is a different question altogether. Just as the iPhone 7 ad did not seem to come from Apple, this does not seem to come from Google, though not as dramatically.
In our book, this looks like a nice idea that could have done with an implementation that was more, well, Google-ish.