Google’s Oscars Ad Shows How It Can Help You Find Your Favorite Movie Locations

'Find Your Scene' with Google Maps

the joker stairs
The "Joker stairs" in the Bronx have lured a legion of fans since the movie debuted in 2019. Google
Headshot of David Griner

For this year’s Oscars broadcast, Google created an ad that features one of its relatively little-known mapping features: the ability to pinpoint where famous movie locations can be found in the real world.

That’s a pretty fun aspect of Google Maps—unless you’re a resident of the Bronx, which has already suffered more than its share of Joker fans coming into the borough to dance on the stairs made famous by Joaquin Phoenix in the 2019 film.

That set obviously gets some screen time in Google’s spot, given that Joker had more Oscar nominations than any other movie this year, but the ad also features Doc Brown’s house in Back to the Future, the Jones family home from 1995’s Friday and Goonies Beach (aka Oregon’s Cannon Beach).

Perfectly timed for Oscars weekend, the ad works both creatively and strategically—getting millions thinking about the flexibility of Google Maps.

The ad rapidly follows up another crowd-pleaser from Google: “Loretta,” the Super Bowl spot that Adweek ranked one of this year’s best ads of the Big Game.

The Oscars ad was created in-house by Google’s Brand Studio.

Here’s a look back at the brand’s 2020 Super Bowl spot, also created in-house:

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@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."