Google Brings Good News

Where There's Help, There's Hope



This was the week the ad world started to get restless about the somewhat…uniform quality of Covid-19 themed commercials. Ad blog compiled a YouTube video splicing together dozens of commercials, all of which followed the same sombre (yet uplifting) formula.

There’s no denying that there’s plenty of identikit ads out there right now. The combination of an extraordinary situation and a sudden lack of shooting capability has led brands to a narrowed set of options.

But at the same time it’s liberated them to at least try and be more emotional in their communications. We’ve been tracking and testing every COVID-19 themed ad, and the simple fact is that the overall quality of them is up on the average ad. That doesn’t mean they’re all brilliant – but it does mean people are responding better to these commercials than to the message-heavy, hard-sell junk which tended to fill their screens before.

And when the formula is done well, it can really work. This week’s Ad Of The Week is “Where There’s Help. There’s Hope”. It has all the typical ingredients of a Covid-19 ad – found footage, slow piano music, an uplifting and reassuring message – but it’s strung together in a way that still makes the Google brand into a hero.

The ad’s central insight is that there’s been an upsurge of searches for “how to help” – people looking to help key workers, the elderly and isolated, or just their communities in general. Google takes this finding and turns it into a hymn to the human desire to help others – which the search engine, of course, makes a lot easier.

It scored a massive 5.8-Stars, one of the highest scores of the year so far (pandemic or no pandemic) and a very strong 1.3 Spike score. But Its Brand Fluency, at 0.43, wasn’t so high. This is something we’ve seen with other high-scoring coronavirus ads – like Oreo’s last week – and suggests that criticism of these ads for not being distinctive enough is legitimate.

But that shouldn’t detract from the emotional impact of “Where There’s Help…” – it will aid Google’s brand in the long term by cementing positive associations at a difficult time.

The Covid-19 ads may be formulaic, but for now, it’s a formula adland is tiring of a lot faster than the general public. And the best examples, like Google’s, win by putting people and their best qualities at the centre of the work.