Comparing Google and Apple Ads

Many bytes have been spilled in online discussions around Google and Apple. Let's set aside for a moment smartphone battles, contests for browser market share or OS struggles. Both companies have released new advertising videos recently. Comparing the two is an interesting exercise.

Both ads are high-level, emotionally charged ads. By this I mean that they don't focus explicitly on specs or features. They aim to show off the end use value that each company offers. Each has an extremely narrow focus in terms of content and (appear) to be very simple productions. Musical scores are simple and subtle. Both use piano as the primary instrument. Apple's ad uses a narrator. Google's only audio other than music is the clicking of keys and uses onscreen text to tell the story.

[Apple's ad](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um4gLMZDXkA) is focused on the iPad 2. Interestingly, the narrator never uses the word "iPad" or makes mention of features, specs or anything technology related. Instead, the ad goes through a number of "genres" of use including teachers, CEOs and doctors. Each genre has a different adjective attached to it. The ad is effective in demonstrating the wide range of use cases for the iPad. The ad also serves as a teaser from Apple as the ad ends with the line "...and if you asked us, we'd say it's just getting started."

[Google's ad](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4vkVHijdQk) focuses on their online products including Gmail, Youtube and Google Maps. This ad has a stronger narrative through it's telling of the story of a child through her father's eyes. This ad is also 1:30 (versus 0:30 for Apple) which helps the ability to tell a story. The fictional father uses Google services to write to his daughter and document her childhood. Although the end graphic is specifically branded for the Chrome browser, the ad focuses on Google's web services more than the browser itself.

Rene Ritchie at [The iPhone Blog](http://www.tipb.com/2011/05/04/apple-google-ads-selling/) makes the point that Apple's ad is selling a physical product that runs apps while Google is selling web services that collect your personal information and create advertising revenue for the company. This is the crux of the difference between Apple and Google[^1].

While I see his point and don't disagree, Google's ad does a better job of connecting on an emotional level. It does feel slightly creepy watching a childhood worth of personal data be typed on screen. I do think they took the easy route by using a father-daughter relationship, but the Google ad certainly made me *feel* more than Apple's.

Aside from discussing content and methodology, taking a look at the metadata on the two ads is interesting.

* Both were posted from official accounts on YouTube within 24 hours of each other.
* As of this post, they are close in number of total views.
* Apple's has comments disabled, while Google's are enabled. Cue the open/closed debate.
* The ratio of likes to dislikes is remarkably different. Apple has 9 likes for every 1 dislike. Google has 61 likes for every 1 dislike.

These things don't necessarily mean anything, but it's interesting to look at.

[^1]: Certainly not the only difference.