Google decided to launch the United States’ Black History month a bit early this year by launching “The Most Searched” during the 2020 Grammy Awards on Sunday 26 January.
Posting the 90-second video onto its Twitter page, the tech giant stated: “This February, we’re celebrating the Black history makers who have helped shape and influence American culture. According to @GoogleTrends, these icons, events, and movements are #TheMostSearched in the US.”
The Big Idea
The creative aired during the awards show’s Sunday night broadcast sending chills down the spines of many Americans according to the social media reaction (for the most part).
And by the next afternoon, the video had clocked 1.7 million views, more than 13,000 retweets, 23,000 likes, and more than 700 comments in addition to a slew of press clippings.
It’s safe to say it was on the top of the cultural agenda in America.
What They Did
Brilliantly, the searches included in the Google spot are simply the “best tennis player” or a “NASA mathematician.” And, without the term “black” or even “female” needing to be in the search, a black individual is the top search result.
This makes the spot a gentle proof point that the contributions of black Americans are indisputable, don’t need to be search-optimised, and are indiscriminately woven into the fabric of our American culture past and present.
The outstanding, famous,
overachieving individuals featured in the spot are simply the best in
whatever it is they do (or did) from poetry to performance, from singing
to scoring, from philosophy to fighting for equality.
The message is that search is colourblind.
And #TheMostSearched leaves me hoping that maybe the United States may be a bit more too.
Whilst the shine of simply featuring Beyoncé, Serena and Prince in an ad gives most of us tingles, the real power of this creative is that, at the end of the day, it’s simply about search.
Forget the driverless cars, the drones and the slick hardware – Google is a search engine.
It’s a very creative means of staying in its lane as the world’s most popular search engine (with more than 70% of search market share), whilst showing how simply examining what we search and what results from those searches can be a powerful window into our culture. Cue the real tingles for this marketing nerd.
And staying firmly in its lane is important for Google when wading into America’s race conversation, which continues to be heated, emotional and charged as the sun still shines on Trump’s America.
The existence of February as Black History Month has always been debated in America. Some feel black history should be a seamless part of the history conversation and curriculum throughout the year.
Others feel given our history (and our present, in my opinion), it’s still vital to signpost a month for all Americans to remember the stories and contributions of black Americans to our country (yes, I’m an American).