One of the most watched ads in recent times has to be the highly emotional “Google’s Reunion ad”. It’s an ad campaign in which Google helps reunite two friends who were split up years ago because of the partition of India and Pakistan. It touched a chord with viewers so soon that the ad, which was first published on Nov 13.2013, has been viewed over 10.43 million times on YouTube.
Now, why would anyone make an expensive three and a half minute ad campaign just for internet users?
The answer to that question is that the advertisers feel that advertising on YouTube is much better than advertising on Television, as in the latter, the impact of the ad is restricted to the reach of the particular channel, but with YouTube, the advertisers can instantly reach out to a global audience; the more people like it, the more they share it with their friends on social networks, hence making it popular.
Here’s the video:
The about section of the video on YouTube says:
“Partitions divide countries, friendships find a way.”
The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 separated many friends and families overnight. In the ad, a granddaughter in India decides to surprise her grandfather on his birthday by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan) after over six decades of separation, with a little help from Google Search.
Abhijit Avasthi, head of the Ogilvy India team that developed the ad says, “this (partition) is a sensitive topic, a part of history with bitter memories”. When asked about the two countries’ violent past he said, “But that was the whole point, which is to tell people that those memories are in the past, that there is a way to revive your connection with your lost ones.”
The video was so emotional that it made almost everyone dreary and teary-eyed by the time it ended. And it has managed to evoke deep emotional feelings both in India and Pakistan. Of course, the sequence shown isn’t how it happens in real life, for example, getting a Visa for a citizen of either country to visit the other country is very difficult and time consuming. But nevertheless, the ad has been warmly received, not just in India and Pakistan, but also around the world.
Although, the ad is making waves, not everyone is impressed. Google is waging a losing battle, says Himanshu Gupta, a technology and amalgamation enthusiast. In his column, he writes that Google made such an expensive campaign because it fears that people may switch their loyalties to personalized apps in the future and stop using Google exclusively for their search activities.
Personally, I’ve limited my Google search for only research purposes. When I am on the go and/or accessing the internet on a smartphone and not a desktop; I prefer to use the apps as they are easier to use and faster to access than Google search.
So while Google may be treading on troubled waters, it does not take away from the fact that this ad is truly emotional and has struck all the right chords with the people.
(This post was first published at The Viewspaper, an online magazine.)