Social networking is the great equalizer. That’s the promise, anyway. An unfettered realm where everyone has voice and those voices can all shout at the same volume. Social networking has brought us together in a way that no other communication ever has, and has begun to answer the questions central to human experience. ‘What’s cuter? Singing babies or cats?’
Google +, the search engine giant’s answer to FB and Twitter, launched its first TV spot this weekend. Take a look –
Developed by creative agency Adam and Eve, the advert follows the life of ‘Tom.’ We watch benchmark after benchmark along Tom’s journey as Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a slightly octogenarian-sounding voiceover taken from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. It’s weighty and worthy and flirts with deep emotional poignancy and is utterly NOT what social networking actually is. Where are the cats? Where are the home-movie renditions of “Single Ladies?” Heck, all that baby did was sleep!
The advert seems to play like a CV for social networking; the way social networking would like to think of itself, but a far cry from what it really is. And the advert aired during Britain’s Got Talent, one of the nation’s most populist shows. So why not appeal to the common denominator? True, in a digital landscape already so flush with social media, appealing to the loftier sides of sharing isn’t the worst idea for making you stand out. The invitation model and the ability to group your contacts in ‘circles’ gives a sheen of personal control amidst nearly daily privacy concerns from FB. However, the advert doesn’t really play to these strengths. It seems to show us things that we can already do with our other social networks. It strikes us as a bit too worthy – and without a single cat, we’re unsure if Google + will ever multiply.