While watching football this past weekend, I noticed Google’s latest TV ad for its search engine (see video above). For 120 seconds, slick images are mixed with text of what we searched this last year. But, what struck me was the manipulation that America only cares about liberal issues.
OK, the whole point of advertising is to manipulate the audience to use your product. For two minutes, I wondered, do only liberals use the internet?
Set to music by Harry Styles, Google opens the spot with “This year more than ever we asked” followed by various questions, only a handful actually made it to any of Google’s U.S. Top Ten searches of the year: North Korea, hurricanes and the solar eclipse to name a few.
Google Ad Doesn’t Match Google Search Results
But don’t let the facts get in a way of sending a political message. Being in a Top 10 Google search was not a prerequisite for making the TV cut.
In the real world, the border wall, refugees, and #MeToo (which featured Ellen DeGeneres; hope she gets a nice royalty check) didn’t rank in the Top 10 searches. Those liberal friendly talking points were included in the Google ad, however.
The roaring stock market and other traditional conservative issues, like gun rights nor law enforcement, failed to make any Google Top 10 lists. They were omitted from the TV ad. Double standard?
The leader of the free world, President Donald Trump, surprisingly failed to rank in any Top 10 search category. He still made the TV ad, albeit for one second. But other politicians garnered more face time: French president Emmanuel Macron, Canadian political leader Jagmeet Singh and Virginia lawmaker Danica Roem (whose claim to fame is being the first openly transgender politician to win an election). They didn’t make the Top 10 for Google searches either. I wonder what the other differences between them are?
There was plenty of airtime to feature how to help victims of various natural disasters, such as hurricane victims and those in need from the Mexican earthquake. A not-so-subtle message about climate change?
Google listed Top 10 protests as its own category, and made sure that got plenty of airtime.
Viewers watched images of rallies for women’s’ rights, gay rights and high school players taking a knee (presumably for the National Anthem). While the NFL National Anthem protest ranked No. 1 in that category, the commercial featured nothing on the backlash.
Another NFL figure made a few Top 10 Google searches, but (thankfully) didn’t turn up in the TV ad: Aaron Hernandez, who killed himself in prison while serving time for murder.
Only one of the Top 10 in the category of “People” made the TV cut: “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot. Seven of the other nine (eight if you feel that way about Melania Trump) made headlines for some sort of disgrace (liberals and conservatives alike, such as Harvey Weinstein and Michael Flynn).
Google Spreads Political Donations Evenly
It’s not as if Google is lopsided with its political spending. The Google Inc. PAC has been relatively even in spending for Democratic and Republican candidates, a nearly 50/50 split according to Open Secrets.
Even CEO Sundar Pichai has hedged his bets: donating about $33,000 each to Democratic and Republican committees in 2017.
Next time Google wants to let us know about Google, remember this: Not all searches are politically based. Tops on the list for the “How to … ” category: making slime.
Then again, an image of the U.S. Capitol would be appropriate for that last one.