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09 June 2011

Intel and Google: Sentiment and saccharine


The creation of an emotional connection between brand and consumer is the goal of most, if not all marketing campaigns. There are consultancies that even claim to specialise in ‘emotional’ branding. Online platforms create the opportunity for brands to have longer conversations – or at the very least longer pieces of creative – and there is a noticeable increase in the number of brands that are looking to tug at the heartstrings.

Some brands have this down to a fine art. Brands like Oxo, John Lewis, Hallmark and Yellow Pages have for years exploited the power of emotion in their creative. McDonald’s produced a touching video last year in which a teenage boy came out to his father in a restaurant.

But where some brands have been happy to wear their heart on their sleeve, it has to be said that technology companies are fairly new to the idea. While other brands are happy to hold hands, have a hug, and the occasional cry, with consumers, tech brands are the slightly awkward teenager that would much rather discuss graphics cards than feelings, at least until recently.

Dear Hollie, here's an email

Google has been edging towards this territory for some time, although its latest ad for Chrome goes for the emotional jugular with ‘Dear Hollie’.


A father decides to set up a gmail account for Hollie when she is born, and commemorate various milestones of her life with an email, ready for Hollie to look back upon when she’s older.

Verdict: Saccharine. Yes, the pictures are cute, but the whole tone is a touch mawkish for my taste, and the final line “I’ve been emailing you all your life” is more than a little creepy.

My life on in Facebook

Intel 3
Intel’s Museum of Me has been doing the rounds on the blog circuit. In case you haven’t visited it yet, I can highly recommend it. Visitors to the Museum log in with Facebook, and then take a tour through a virtual gallery where aspects of your digital life are realised as different exhibits.

Intel 1
Facebook mining apps are nothing new, although the creative behind this one really elevates it above other examples. Even this normally cynical viewer was left with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I was reminded of old friends, past events, and forgotten plans. I wasn’t reaching for any tissues, but Intel succeeded in making me stop everything for five minutes to appreciate the good bits of life. There are not hard metrics as yet, but a few days after viewing my own museum, I was asked in a discussion to name a ‘cool’ brand, and Intel immediately leapt to mind.

Verdict: Heart-warming. Beautifully executed, the Museum of Me succeeded in creating an emotional connection between me, and the bits inside my own laptop. The Facebook mining idea isn’t original, but this definitely the best example yet. If only it had been able to draw on my Twitter, Flickr, MySpace accounts as well.

Technology brands still have a long way to go before they reach the levels of sheer unhinged melodrama present in some FMCG creative. For me, nothing can beat this video from Thailand for Pantene. Released last year, this wild rollercoaster of a tale has tears, tantrums, bitter rivalry and hopeless despair, all in the name of glossy, shiny hair.

The climactic final scene is wild; the Thai advertising industry has to be the global authority on the branded weepy.


Verdict: Ridiculous, but rather wonderful to watch with a glass of wine. 



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