First U.K. Spot for Google+ Is Beautifully Shot but Rings Hollow

Social network isn't used as grandly as this

In the social realm, Google+ is indeed a poor player. Most folks spend about three seconds a month on the maligned network, and they usually arrive there by accident. For better or worse, Facebook, especially with the rollout of its Timeline, is the place for forging digital representations of one's flesh-and-blood existence, the primary online platform to share and store the triumphs, follies and failures of life. Which brings us to this 90-second "Tom+" commercial from British ad agency Adam & Eve—the first U.K. TV spot for the fledgling social network. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch's measured and thoughtful recitation of Shakespeare's "The Seven Stages of Man" mixes with a moody score and stirring years-roll-by visuals to catalog the milestones of Tom Barker, a fictitious everyman. The approach somewhat resembles Google's earlier U.S. efforts for its search engine ("Parisian Love") and Chrome browser ("Dear Sophie"), but on a much broader scale. And scale—always an issue on the Internet, it seems—is a big reason I dislike the ad. While impeccably produced and emotionally engaging, the spot feels like a huge stretch and a disingenuous exercise in wish fulfillment—because Google+ simply isn't used anywhere near as grandly as it's portrayed. And there's no reasonable indication that it ever will be, no matter how many commercials Google makes. Though "an infant, mewling and puking" pretty well describes the product's perception in the marketplace. Anyway, I can't wait to see what Google Wallet does with The Merchant of Venice! Via Co. Create.