Google's search bar tracks our return to normalcy

New U.K. campaign reflects Brits' concerns as they tentatively emerge from the pandemic

Published On
Jun 02, 2021

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Google's search bar beomes a window into how people are adjusting to life as they come out of the pandemic in the brand's latest U.K. campaign.

A two-minute film, the first work by Uncommon Creative Studio for the internet giant, juxtaposes images with words typed into a Google search box, reflecting the questions, anxieties and mixed emotions that British people are feeling as they emerge to a kind of normality this summer after months of tight regulations. They range from "Is kissing safe?" and "When can we go out?" to finding Google maps directions to Grandma's house and (poignantly) searching for the best way to "remember Dad."

As well as hope and excitement, there's also worry: "What is reopening anxiety" and "how to talk to people" also feature among the search questions. Although the film ends on a note of hope, it's a more emotive and confessional approach to the return to normalcy, in contrast with some other "opening up" ads we've seen recently, from the likes of Extra and Uber, which are more celebratory and upbeat in style. 

The film, which debuted Tuesday night on Channel 4, was directed by Josh Tenser at Uncommon and is set to the music track "All Under One Roof Raving" by Jamie XX. It will be followed by digital, outdoor and social elements running through June and July. 

"Our summer campaign is anthemic in tone and ambition, designed to mirror the truly unique moment we are facing in the U.K. as lockdown eases," said Nishma Robb, Google's director of brand and reputational marketing, in a statement. "It is anchored in Google's role in helping people find the answers—from the everyday to the epic—as they start anew this summer."

"What we search for in that bar is powerful stuff," added Uncommon co-founder Nils Leonard. "Trivial terms tell the story of our hopes and unknowns; the smallest search can mean anything."