Google Exec Reveals Secrets To Its Brilliant, Tear Jerker Ads

google dear sophie ad

While Google is known for its innovative technology, its creativity has also spread to another realm: Marketing.

“Not only am I dumbest guy at Google, but I’m the sappiest,” Google Creative Lab CCO Robert Wang said at Ad Age’s Digital Conference Wednesday.

Between ads about a proud father chronicling his daughter’s milestones to acting as a platform for the “It Gets Better” initiative, Google Creative Labs has not only mastered storytelling, both in-house and with multiple agencies, but it has probably also made you cry. A lot.

“There’s a collective purpose for everyone to make a dent in the universe,” Wang said, chronicling what made Google’s most impressive and effective ads shine.

Parisian Love (watch below)

Mark Lesek: A New/Old Prosthetic

'How do we find cool stories about people who use Google?' Wang asked. 'We Google it.'

That's how the team at Google Creative Lab found Mark Lesek's story. He lost his arm in an accident and the prosthetic his insurance covered was ineffective.

Thus, Lesek started Googling how he could build his own arm that can do everything from hold a beer to help steer a motorcycle.

After gaining recognition (in large part due to the Google ad), Lesek actually went to New York to talk to manufacturers about how they could make effective prosthetics at low price points.

Google Docs: Hall and Oates

Another rule for good Google marketing?

'Don't take yourself so f***ing seriously,' Wang said. 'April Fool's is our favourite day.'

That mentality is how Google Creative Lab teamed up with the band Hall and Oates to make this spot that spiced up Google Docs.

Google Chrome: It Gets Better

Wang, determined to 'do good things that matter,' was inspired when journalist Dan Savage made his epic 'It Gets Better' video following an epidemic of suicides by gay teens across the country.

Not only did what Wang calls 'Gayglers' (gay Google employees) make videos themselves, but Google decided to make its own ad about the campaign that was heavily promoted.

'We advertised it on YouTube right by when people searched for things about suicide,' Wang said. And then the ad went on TV.

While Wang first wanted to run the spot during 'Glee,' he took Savage's advice that that was preaching to the choir. Instead, the ad ran during WWF and Monday Night Football.

Wang recalls a comment on the YouTube (yes, he reads the comments) about a guy who was watching football with his dad. After his father saw the commercial, he turned to his son, put his arm around his shoulder, and told him, 'Son, whatever you are, I love you.'

'I'm not even gay,' the commenter continued, 'but I thought it was really cool.'

Dear Sophie

And of course there's Google's ad about a father who chronicles the milestones in his daughter Sophie's life on different Google platforms -- which Wang, a father of two, identifies with.

'Engineers spend thousands of hours every year trying to make Google better,' Wang said. 'There is no owners manual on that stuff, it just happens.'

Even though this spot is a tear jerker, it also shows what makes Google shine.

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