Before I start ranting, please watch this video, it’s just a minute and a half, please make sure you hear the audio:
What you just witnessed is a supposedly leaked promo video for Google Pixel, a new Chromebook with high-resolution (retina) display. It’s not yet clear if it’s authentic or not. Computer world has some arguments about why it’s probably a fake.
I have another one.
When you watch it, do you sense something’s off?
In many ways, the ingredients for a commercial that is supposed to evoke an emotional response are there:
- Deep voice with inspirational tone
- Intimate, beautiful imagery of hardware
Ostensibly, this is very similar to the type of ads that Apple produces.
But this one doesn’t work on me — while I’m usually very receptive to these types of ads. I find this fascinating, because it clearly has to do with what is being said — the visuals are very good.
It’s not like the writer doesn’t try. There’s some classic story telling techniques used, like beginning and ending with the same thing (the pixel), and littering the thing with rhetorical questions like “We asked ourselves, could this pixel create a new world of possibilities?” “And all of this made us wonder… what’s next?”
It just feels. Wrong. Fake.
Once you start to notice this, the whole thing just sounds like a whole lot of quasi-inspirational jibber jabber.
“You could say, like an atom, a pixel is a building block, and the more pixels, the more wonderful the world.”
Ehm… ok. First of all, I “could say” a lot of things. Why not be more definite: “Like an atom, a pixel is a building block.” Great! Analogies are good. Sadly, I’m not sure this particular analogy even survives until the end of the sentence: you could ask if the number of atoms increases at all, and if so — not sure it does — how that has impacted the wonderful-ness of the world thus far.
“And from four million pixels we created something new.”
Cool story, bro’. You created a laptop just from pixels?
“And we asked ourselves… could this pixel create a new world of possibilities?”
“A world where you see things like you’ve never seen them before.”
“A world that’s faster.”
“Where all your things are always wherever you are.”
“And your computer actually gets better over time.”
All of this makes me wonder… how does any of this logically relate back to what we started from — pixels, and lots of them? Do more pixels make the world faster? Do more pixels drag along all my stuff wherever I go? Do more pixels upgrade my video card so I can run more impressive WebGL demos?
“And all this made us wonder… what’s next? And though we don’t know exactly what the future holds, we hope you’ll help to shape it.”
And what’s the story with “exactly”? Do you have any idea what the future holds mr. Narrator, except that you hope I’ll help to shape it? And if so, please tell me about it.