Of all the Super Bowl commercials that aired this year, none had the raw emotional impact of the Google ad. Google introduced viewers to several features of its Voice Assistant technology, all through the sad story of a widower. On a day set aside for football and celebrations, many were not prepared.
Google had fans tearing up over their beer and hot wings at Super Bowl parties all over the country on Sunday. Their ad showed a screen in action, with an old man in voice-over interacting with it through Google Voice Assistant.
Google Voice Assistant is the company's answer to Siri on Apple products, Alexa on Amazon products, Cortana on Microsoft systems and other voice-activated computer services. It can be accessed through dedicated devices, on smart phones, TVs, computers, cars and just about anywhere else.
y’all google super bowl commercial got me in tears 😭😭😭pic.twitter.com/7vk5mBoRLc— 𝓷𝓪𝓮 ⁷ (@lovelykookieeee) February 3, 2020
On Sunday, the world learned what it can do, and how far its help can be taken. Google's ad at Super Bowl LIV introduced viewers to Loretta, and her mourning husband. The commercial struck a chord will all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons, and almost of all of them found themselves weepy.
Here's a look at social media's response to Google and Loretta.
Many viewers could not contain their tears after Google's ad ran early on during Super Bowl 2020. The commercial was clearly designed to illicit a strong emotional response, and on that, it delivered.
Of course for many viewers, tears were not what they wanted on Super Bowl Sunday. More than a few people commented on how the ad brought their party to a screeching halt.
Gonna be trippy when Google starts showing you photos of your loved ones because it knows they are dead before you do.— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) February 3, 2020
As emotional as the Loretta commercial was, viewers did not fail to think about the implications of sharing all that information with a computer. Some joked about how far an artificial intelligence might go with that knowledge.
Less sad Google content, more of this please. pic.twitter.com/rfIq4GZP4h— Abby Boyle (@abby_boyle2) February 3, 2020
As the rest of the Super Bowl got underway, many fans shook off the Google ad's melancholy, especially once the halftime show got underway. They asked for fewer emotional pleas and more show-stopping songs on their TVs going forward.
Wife: You could say “Google, remember I promised to fix the sliding door.”
Me: yeah and YOU could say “Google, remember I’m ....
Me: cherished. So very very cherished.”— ShrugHat (@Popehat) February 3, 2020
As sad as the Google ad was, it did not soften every heart out there. Many viewers noted that they were talking about other applications for that technology as soon as the commercial was over.
At least that halftime show will make me stop thinking about the dude with dementia asking Google to remember things about his dead wife...— CajunAlaskan (@KJNAlaskan) February 3, 2020
When Google's ad was over, many fans were pleading with the game to heat up just to take their minds off of it. For some, it took until the halftime show to shake it off.
Finally, many viewers were apalled by Google's Super Bowl commercial, thinking it sought to make a questionable technology more palatable with emotional manipulation. Investigative journalist Nina Bernstein wrote that anyone who used Google Voice Assistant in this way could have their private memories "commodified and sold," and others thought that even the risk of this was not worth taking.
"Shoutout google for rebranding domestic survellence without government oversight as being the notebook. Have to take my hat off to the robot ad wizards," one person tweeted.