The Saddest Google Ad

It’s about a dead mom.

Google’s not been shy about deploying highly emotional ads for its web browser, Chrome — just check out the other two videos below — but this spot, which aired during 30 Rock, most nakedly goes for a gut punch by depicting a father and daughter in the wake of a mother’s passing.

In one sense, it’s a good ad, along with the other spots like it: Basically every browser is good now — a lot of them are based on the same engine, and even Internet Explorer doesn’t suck anymore — so the only thing to trade on for arguing about one browser over another is sheer emotion and brand identity. On the other hand, the reason this particular ad generates a vague sensation of being uncomfortable — like sitting on the world’s hardest chair, on top of the whole sadness thing — is that the way it forces the sentimentality upon you is so blatant that you know you’re being manipulated from the very beginning. Partly because no one feels this way about a browser: “Dad, I am so glad my browser works.” *Tears* And scene.

The best ads, I think, make you feel something without making you utterly aware of how you came to feel that. This spot pounds your heart in while staring you in the face, unblinking.

Still, it’s good to know that Google, the internet’s brain, feels feelings.

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