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Gmail Shines In Googler Video

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Where does a major Internet company with a $143 billion market cap and millions of dollars in cash in the bank turn to when it’s time to create an ad campaign for Gmail? To its cube dwellers, of course.

Gmail Shines In Googler Video
Gmail Shines In Googler Video

Since YouTube is the channel of choice for distributing the Gmail ‘happy puppets’ video, it could be said Google paid $1.65 billion for the privilege of having that YouTube audience in its pocket. That would make the Gmail ad the most expensive commercial in history.

A billion-plus gets you a little different return on investment when it comes to production values and star talent. I’m not sure what the Q Score is for a Google engineer, but it probably doesn’t hit Tom Cruise territory.

No one’s going to mistake the Gmail puppets for work coming out of Industrial Light & Magic either. But YouTube’s appeal beyond the copyrighted stuff that gives Hollywood fits has been the lower budget fun videos that seemingly anyone can make.

The cheerful Google narrator takes the viewer through a tour of Gmail. Then a variety of Googlers play out Gmail’s features through a series of puppet-driven acts. The puppets look like what anyone would make if asked to do so, using only the contents of their cubicles to do so.

Gmail’s spam filter is represented by scissors, which by now probably have an agent and a booking with Meredith and Matt on Today. Evil spam, probably Junk #1 and #2 in the credits, gets cut down by the heroic scissors against a clean white backdrop.

Drama professors will probably liken the backdrop to Google’s minimalist home page design, but that’s a question we can leave to the philosophers.

As a product introduction, the video works well. It may be hard to believe for people who have been using Gmail since its earliest days that there are people who need the benefit of such a walkthrough. But when something old is new again, a helping hand can be welcome.

We’ll be impressed when Google does a video like this about quality scores. Nothing says transparency quite like googly-eyes on a coffee cup.


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