Allen Adamson


Google’s ‘Loretta’ Super Bowl Ad Wins At Showing How Products Solve Problems

Super Bowl participants are petrified. No, not Jimmy Garoppolo or Patrick Mahomes. They’re fine. It’s marketers who have spent a fortune on the Super Bowl advertising gripped by the fear that the advertising will not register with the audience (likely the largest captive audience of the year). 

As marketers, we’ve long known that Super Bowl advertisers face intense pressure to perform. They need to break out of the clutter and create something memorable. This pressure forces marketers to go to great lengths with the execution of the ad. They do whatever they can to get noticed. In far too many cases, however, the execution overpowers the message. People remember the bells and whistles, but can’t always remember what the bells and whistles were meant to signal or, in the worst case scenario, which brand was being ballyhooed.

In far too few cases the marketer gets it right. What makes a Super Bowl ad, or any advertising for that matter, right? It accomplishes three critical things. The best advertising grabs your attention. It communicates something that’s different and relevant about the brand or product. And it persuades you to buy it because it will solve a problem.

So which advertiser got it right this go-round? In this marketer’s estimation it’s Google and its touchingly simple love story of an older man who uses Google Assistant to keep the memory of his late wife alive. In the ad, which is titled “Loretta,” the elderly man asks his Google Assistant to bring up favorite photos of their time together and to jot down his favorite memories about her, such as her delight in humming show tunes, or that her favorite flowers were tulips. He, in turn, tells his Google Assistant details about what he remembers about his wife – from hating his mustache, to the way she laughed.

In a blog post launching the spot, Google’s CMO Lorraine Twohill wrote, “‘Loretta’ reflects our goal to build products that help people in their daily lives, in both big and small ways.” She further commented that “Loretta” was inspired by real people, much like the company’s 2010 Super Bowl spot about a Parisian romance as illustrated by Google searches. This newest ad is also similar to the 2010 spot in that it’s beautifully executed, the Google branding is almost always visible, and it manages to pull on our emotional heartstrings while conveying the benefits of something as uninteresting as search.

While I like a good laugh, or admire a wonderfully produced ad as much as anyone, as a marketing guy I am more appreciative of a company that can create an ad that accomplishes the three key things that make an entertaining ad a truly effective one. It gets noticed. It communicates something relevantly different about the brand or product. And, it persuades the viewer to buy or use it because it will solve a problem.  Many marketers are very good at doing the first or even the second of these things. It’s the best that get all three right. If you’re not a fan of the Super Bowl, search for Google’s newest ad in the Google search bar. Both beautiful and memorable, it will likely bring tears to your eyes – and will reinforce the benefits of the brand and why you use it.

This article originally appeared in Forbes.

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