The winner for best animated short at Sunday's Academy Awards? When it came to the commercials, it was no contest—as Droga5's adorable "Rock, Paper, Scissors" spot for Android walked away with viewers' hearts, if not an actual trophy.
The minute-long commercial, set to the throwback faux-epic theme from St. Elmo's Fire, feels like it could be an anti-bullying PSA. The ad follows the lives of animated rocks, paper and scissors at a school, and indeed, it couldn't be a more perfect metaphor for childhood bullying—it's a child's game, after all, and it's all about a hierarchy of destruction.
Except here, the rules aren't so clear.
Paper is bullying paper, rocks are bullying rocks—and the breakthrough comes only when supposedly opposing forces come together in an alliance. The animation is simple, but the effect—partly because of that—is profound.
Droga5's best Android spots are like this—simple, pure crowd-pleasers (the most famous being 2015's "Friends Furever" spot). And while the "Be together. Not the same" positioning continues to feel a bit opaque—especially when wrapping up gorgeously simple ads—it is gaining some charm thanks to campaign highlights like this one. (The line is meant to suggest that Android gives users has a unified experience across devices.)
The Google brand aired a second Droga5 spot during Sunday's telecast—an ad that actually rolled out on YouTube two weeks ago, featuring a piano whose 88 keys had all been tuned to the same note (middle C).
That spot, "Monotune," while interesting and well made, isn't as strong as "Rock, Paper, Scissors." The monotune piano, while a cool idea, is underwhelming to listen to. That, of course, is the point of the ad, but that feels backwards somehow—if you build something new and curious for a commercial, it seems conceptually odd to then position it as the thing to be avoided.
Check out the "Monotune" spot below.
Client: Google Android
Agency: Droga5, New York