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Google Delivers 30 Secs. of Greatness
By: Edwina Owens Elliott
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“It’s dress-like-a-president-day and I’m supposed to be Martin Van Buren.”
“Martin Van Buren!”
I’m willing to go out on a limb and declare this ad for Google, by San Fran agency Venables Bell & Partners, as one of the best 30-sec spots I’ve ever seen.
Everything works with this one. There aren’t a lot of lines but the few there are flow as naturally as those in your house on any given morning. Mom didn’t even try to pretend that she knew who Martin Van Buren was. And honestly. How did babygirl end up with Martin Van Buren anyway? Could there be a lesser-known former president?
When Mom punches him up on her tablet via Google's Search app and sees the challenge that awaits, her expression is absolutely priceless. Does the Clio awards recognize individual actors? I don’t think so. But that face alone deserves a nomination at least.
The spot is directed and then edited with utter perfection. Fast and furious, it’s enough for you to see Mom working her tail off—channeling Martha Stewart every step of the way—but too speedy for you to see what she’s really creating until the very end. Didn’t you howl when you finally saw the little girl in full drag? How about the breeze from the open window blowing through her “muttonchops”? We know the facial hair didn’t really come from the pillow Mom disemboweled but who cares? It’s a hoot! And what is our little president doing in that back seat? Is she practicing her presidential face? What a wonderful little actress she is! Gloria Swanson in SUNSET BOULEVARD said, “silent movie actors didn’t need voices, they had FACES”? This spot relies on it.

But it’s the tiny details like the ruffled-edge collar of a typical child’s blouse that takes it over the top. Such a small aspect hardly seems to matter. But subliminally it drives home the idea of Moms’ spontaneous creativity. I still can’t figure out the pantyhose effect and how it works but I’ve seen it enough times to know that it can. Just what the Google crew is counting on, I’m sure.
When Mom takes a look at her creation in the rear view mirror, cocks an eyebrow and the corner of her mouth turns up ever so slightly you barely see it but it’s there—true and deep self-satisfaction. She’s dusting off that spot on the mantelpiece already. There’s not a doubt in her mind that her baby’s bringing home first prize for dress-like-a-president-day.
Bravo, Google. Bravo.

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About the Author

Edwina Owens Elliott is a graphic designer, art director, illustrator and owner of FASHION+ART, an e-commerce art gallery. She has a lifelong passion for fashion, art, writing, music, movies, books, theater, cooking, gardening, plotting and planning and dreaming big dreams. Find her online here and here.

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