Damn the Onions: Ogilvy Raises the Bar with New ‘Google Search: Reunion’ Spot

By Erik Oster 

Wow. Google’s advertising has always been solid, irrespective of agency and market. But Ogilvy Mumbai’s new spot “Google Search: Reunion” for Google India has taken it to the next level. I’m a pretty sensitive guy, but this is probably the first spot I’ve ever seen that makes me so emotional that I actually have to hold back tears. It makes Pereira & O’Dell’s recent “Stay Together” spot for Skype seem tame in comparison. Not only is the spot emotionally affecting, it manages to address the India-Pakistan partition, “a moment that has left a deep imprint across many generations on both sides of the border.”

“Google Search: Reunion” begins with a man telling his granddaughter about his long-lost childhood friend Yousaf. The pair would fly kites together every day, and steal candy from the candy shop run by Yousaf’s family. The old man, Baldev, misses his friend, who he was separated from during the partition of India and Pakistan. It would appear hopeless that Baldev and Yousaf would ever see each other again.

But Baldev’s granddaughter, Suman, does the seemingly impossible. She uses Google to track down the sweet shop still run by Yousaf’s family, using clues from her grandfather’s stories of his childhood. Suman then arranges for Yousaf to reunite with her grandfather for his birthday. When the two see each other for the first time since their childhood, it’s so overpoweringly emotional that it’s almost too much to take. This is advertising as storytelling, and it puts to shame so many lesser attempts to do so. It’s sentimental (in a good way) without being melodramatic, and positions Google as the tool that makes the whole incredible episode possible.

According to Google India director of marketing Sandeep Menon, “India has well over 150 million Internet users, and most of them use Google in various formats, be it from desktops, or mobile devices. We wanted to strike up a conversation to showcase the different uses of Google, and at the same time, tell magical stories that show why ours users love the product. One of our core philosophies is that our users are smart and intelligent. Hence, the attempt was to have a conversation and tell users that they can do a lot more, and a lot quicker, by showcasing some of the innovations that allow the product to be used in different ways.”

The 3:32 video is tremendously popular, going viral on YouTube, where it’s already approaching two million views. We really can’t say enough good things about this spot. This is how you win at advertising. (Impending firebombing of comments section with bile hatred and jealousy to commence in an estimated five seconds.) Credits after the jump.National Creative Director: Abhijit Avasthi

Group Creative Director: Sukesh Nayak

President, Mumbai & Kolkata: Navin Talreja

Business Head: Namrata Keswani

Production House: Chrome Pictures

Director: Amit Sharma