The Art of Commercials & Getting Away from Futuristic
Google can do good commercials "Now." (Just had to.)
Appeal to the heart strings (like Apple) & make it feel real/usable, not robotic or futuristic.
A cautionary tale on trying to be futuristic
Aiming for futuristic is a funny thing if you really think about it. If it's too out there people won't be able to make a connection with it. Let's take Siri for example. The idea of a virtual assistant has been in the popular media for several decades. Talk to the computer and we get results back. For consumers, that wasn't such a far fetched idea to grasp. Apple's ads for Siri featured just that. To consumers, "hey, we can finally do that with out phones."
However, there is the bad kind of futuristic ads. While most people in tech community strive for the latest and greatest, I noticed regular people aren't always into that. They just want something that works. I noticed that older Google ads tended to be more robotic. I believe older Galaxy Nexus ads did something to that effect. I remember a few Galaxy Nexus ads that showcased sharing via NFC, panorama mode, face-to-unlock, video chat (via Google+ hangouts.)
In my opinion, the problem with all those features for the main consumer is that it isn't relatable. They probably didn't even know they needed the feature. Yes, it's cool, but in terms of practical use everyday, that's debatable. Sure video chatting and beat boxing with a lot friends is cool, but when the hell will I ever use that. Panaroma mode will sure be awesome, if I those lucky people who don't have to be in an office around the clock. On that same regard, Apple tried to market that exact same feature for the iPhone 5. They were more succesful in that the ad showed panaroma mode being used practically, a kid's birthday party.
(Again, just had to.)
Well, that was Google of that past. They made great strives as evident by this video and others, which shows an actually plausible use for Google Now and the features in Android. Having a Google Hangout with your kid is much more practical than beat boxing. (That's the approach Apple used with their FaceTime commercials, btw.) Google Now cards provided great uses: place to find a meal, reminding you when the bus is about to leave, telling you the weather, reminding you to talk with your kid, etc.
Google is appealing to the heart strings and that's how you get consumers.
Asked a friend of mine to watch the comercial and give me his thoughts:
"cute commercial. still just a phone"
Close enough, Google.
Let me rephrase what I mean by futuristic. By futuristic, I was not referring to the Motorola Droid ads. Rather, I define futuristic as a new out there feature that a user might never have considered. FaceTime was built on ideas that predates to the the 20th century. It was an idea that was already in the public domain, so to speak.
Let's take the face-to-unlock feature. It can be argued that that is a relatively new idea to a consumer, an idea that is genuinely new to the consumer. That is my definition of futuristic.