Google spent millions on a commercial just for me.

2017 Solar Eclipse

I couldn?t believe it, really. I was sitting on my couch, watching old-fashioned, over the air TV (something I rarely do) when I saw it.

I looked up, and there it was.

It was nearly perfect, in my humble opinion, anyways. Afterall, the commercial was made specifically for me, so it makes sense I thought it was perfect.

The tone, the images, the sense of reality all drew me in immediately. The music was perfect- the tone was eerily moving and capturing. I wanted to know more.

And as I continued to watch, cognizant that time was elapsing, I became weary- this is really a commercial? It?s so long, no way they would pay a network millions of dollars just to get me to watch this.

Commercials are supposed to be 30 seconds, maybe 60 seconds. But this commercial was 2 minutes- an eternity!

How did I know it was specifically for me? It was obvious. I was so intrigued by all the clips, the storytelling, and way it was put together.

But also the way it stopped me in my tracks, there was no way this was not for me.

I was sitting on the couch next to my wife, and she knew it was just for me, too. She saw how I reacted and wanted to know what I was drawn to so much. And she was impressed.

I captively waited until the end, so I could see who made this incredible piece of content. Whoever it was, I wanted to know so I could brag to all my friends, and remember this brand and be loyal to them. After all, they cared about me. I should return the favor.

It was Google.

Google! Wow, I?m impressed.

Here?s the final edit:


But here?s the thing:

You probably connected with it pretty well, too, huh? It?s that good.

You probably think they made it just for you.

You say, they didn?t even shoot a single frame themselves. They used UGC for the entire piece.

You might see this and think- this is standard, par for the course, everyone felt like this in 2017. Everyone felt the same way about the natural disasters and political atmosphere.

Everyone feels this way.

You might be right, but that?s not what?s important.

The fact that Google made a piece of content that connected so well with an individual is the point.

They narrowed it down to an audience of one. Not 24-40-year-old males with a college education living in the US.

Yes, I fit in that demographic, but I?m not a demographic. I?m a human.

There are plenty of others just like me. And when you care about who your audience is and care how you connect with them, you care about why that matters.

And that?s the difference.

Discovery and defining your audience is the most important step. Focus on one, and hope that one likes it or even loves it. The rest will take care of itself.


  1. Hmm. Not convinced. The ad is an extension of the Kuleshov effect. It works well, inciting emotion in waves with it’s inspiring music. But is this really the best way to guide decision making? Our neocortex wraps our limbic system, we have both rational and emotional brains. Surely, when making an argument for the solution to a problem, shouldn’t both brains be targeted?

    I am not just an emotional sheep. I will not be herded by sucrose tears that grow to waterfalls of empathy into an advertiser’s pen. I am also a rational being. So I am afraid the ad just left me thinking that someone wants to manipulate me. How could that be?

    1. That’s because you question what you see and know that if it’s being marketed, you probably don’t need it (we don’t truly need 99.99% of the marketing we see). You’re an outlier. For the masses, this is a brilliant piece of marketing.

      1. You’re probably right. The lecturer of a marketing course once described me, somewhat accusingly I thought, as marketing proof. Is it a subject that does not respond well to critical thinking?

        1. I think you’d enjoy Start With Why by Simon Sinek. He goes into tons of depth with regards to marketing and the Limbic and Neocortex parts of the brain. I appreciate your thoughts, too. Are you objective to all marketing that you see? Or have you been emotional to any other brands or advertisements like I was to this Google example? It’s difficult for us to separate ourselves when something hits home so well.

          1. Thanks for the steer to Sinek, I’ll follow up. My introduction to this was from Walter Murch who gave a talk that included the application of Triune Brain Theory to storytelling – it’s online somewhere or other. Essentially, successful stories appropriately engage our rational and emotional brains while remaining coherent with the rules of the story world.

            The only recent advert I can remember watching in its entirety was by Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company. In fact I’d watch it again if I could find the film about an extreme adventurer whose specification for clothing included it being repairable, by him. Although I am not a customer of Patagonia their ad intrigued me with a refreshing contra Adam Smith approach to business. It’s a shame they don’t make offshore sailing stuff.

            Companies like Patagonia are finding better ways to communicate what they are about. Especially when they really are focused on serving rather than just exploiting society. However, when the founders pass the baton…

  2. I absolutely love the commercial and I genuinely appreciate that you chose to post this Tim. I believe that it is the job of the “salesperson” to lead the customer to a buying decision. In that context, the commercial utilizes both right and left brain functions as it appeals to the emotional and transforms to the intellectual as it provides the most elegant solution, SEARCH ON! Brilliant!

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