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A rainy commercial by Google India
November 14, 2013 6:59 PM   Subscribe

The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 separated many friends and families overnight. A granddaughter in India decides to surprise her grandfather on his birthday by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan) after over 6 decades of separation, with a little help from Google Search. SLYT
posted by esprit de l'escalier (46 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damnit. Sometimes those advertising people really impress me. I realize this video is designed to hit me in a certain spot. I realize it could be totally fabricated, or "based on a true story". But even still I enjoyed the stuffing out of that and so will a few others I know.

The ad team that made this earned their paycheck this month. Thanks for posting.
posted by LoopyG at 7:09 PM on November 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I loled at the bit where they look up "Indian visa" on Google and next minute they're packing their bags. Having spent hours-days-months wrangling with the Indian visa processing system from somewhere much less controversial than Pakistan it ain't quite that easy.

But now I see I have to eat my words because apparently the Indian Government just introduced a visa on arrival scheme for Pakistani senior citizens. Which is nice.
posted by dontjumplarry at 7:25 PM on November 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


Don't care if it's pepsi blue - still made my screen all blurry.
posted by leslies at 7:25 PM on November 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I kinda wish there'd been subtitles (even though intellectually I know subtitles wouldn't have made sense, this being a commercial produced in the language of the nation for which it was produced after all).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:27 PM on November 14, 2013


Sorry for not mentioning that you can press the CC button for English subtitles!
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 7:29 PM on November 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


First ad that has made me cry.
posted by arnicae at 7:43 PM on November 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Man. These captchas are getting really intense...
posted by schmod at 7:43 PM on November 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love this so much. There are four follow-up videos, too, depicting the old friends' antics during Yusuf's stay in Delhi:
Ankarli: The reunited grandfathers decide to play match-maker with their grandkids by sending them shopping, but the grand-daughter checkmates them with a little help from Google.

Fennel: The reunited grandfathers want to make biryani and reach a hurdle when they don't know what an ingredient's local name is, but with a little help from Google Search, they manage.

Sugar-free: A grandfather trying to sneak some sweets is caught red handed but is rewarded with some more; the same evening with a little help from Google.

Cricket: The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry reaches its peak during a power-cut and the grandfathers settle scores with a little help from the granddaughter and Google.
posted by embrangled at 7:44 PM on November 14, 2013 [16 favorites]


Google is currently on an Offensive to style itself as Humanities Friend & Saviour. It's sickening Corporate Propaganda ...
posted by homodigitalis at 7:53 PM on November 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I loled at the bit where they look up "Indian visa" on Google and next minute they're packing their bags. Having spent hours-days-months wrangling with the Indian visa processing system from somewhere much less controversial than Pakistan it ain't quite that easy.
As someone who has procured an Indian visa within 45 minutes, let me suggest "bribing" as a search term that you should google next.
posted by midmarch snowman at 7:54 PM on November 14, 2013 [16 favorites]


Does anyone know the name of the song?
posted by Gin and Comics at 8:04 PM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are four follow-up videos

Thought there might be a chance that the grandkids got together, in true Bollywood romance style...
posted by warm_planet at 8:26 PM on November 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to cave to this. It's a fucking commercial. When I was young that meant something. It meant they were stealing all of that emotion, all of that history, and cynically exploiting it to sell something.

I know we're all cool now with being consumers, and it's ok because we're ironic about it or something. But fuck Google. That doesn't change anything or fix anything and it's just another dumb lie. Everything good there is stolen from where it belongs.

This is where I'm supposed to make a joke about my lawn, so I don't seem totally gauche, but fuck that too.

This fucking world.
posted by Max Udargo at 8:31 PM on November 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm calling my dad.
posted by azarbayejani at 8:32 PM on November 14, 2013


Ummmm, where's the part where she clicks on a mislabeled porn site?
posted by Samizdata at 8:43 PM on November 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes, it's an ad, you cynical fuckers - we're all aware of that.
It's also very well done, hopeful even, and quite touching. That it was produced by Google India and the fact that there is a Google India is also a good thing.
posted by islander at 9:33 PM on November 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I feel like maybe I shouldn't share that googling helped us find my grandfather's childhood friends for his 85th birthday party, several of whom still lived in the area and were still alive, and these old dudes he'd known in the 1920s and 1930s came out to his party and they sang crazy songs and looked at old photo albums and told crazy-ass stories about shit kids are no longer allowed to do when they are kids and shouted, "WHAT?" at each other because they all had hearing aids.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:36 PM on November 14, 2013 [44 favorites]


One of the only commercials that has ever caused me to break down sobbing came out of India.

It was my first morning in India. My flight had arrived in Mumbai after midnight, and after a 25 hour flight with a layover in Zurich, I was pretty out of it. But I'd managed to get some sleep. It was still too early to be out and about in Mumbai when I woke up, so I turned on the television.

It was a commercial. For a cellphone company, I think.

The setting is a open desert landscape. The light is golden. It's late afternoon.

A dark-haired little boy kicks a soccer ball across the arid ground. There's a barbed-wire fence in the distance.

As the boy dribbles the ball closer to the fence, it slips out of his control and under, to the other side. Out of his reach.

Suddenly another dark-haired boy appears, on the other side of the fence. He runs after the ball and kicks it neatly to the first boy.

The boys are dressed differently. They look a little alike, but it's clear that they're from different places. It's not said whether this is India/Pakistan, Israel/Palestine, wherever. In fact, not a word is spoken. I'm sure there was some kind of epic swelling score.

They stand opposite each other, divided by the barbed wire, kicking the ball back and forth. Playing one on one soccer, if you could call it that.

Fade to black and a logo and slogan for some cell phone company.

I guess all the folks who don't want to work within the confines of the Bollywood formula have gone to advertising. Thinking about that commercial, even five years later, still causes a speck of dust to magically appear in my eye.
posted by Sara C. at 9:41 PM on November 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee that is the sweetest thing ever. I may or may not be tearing up right now.
posted by littlesq at 9:41 PM on November 14, 2013


Reminds me of visiting Germany and hearing some older folks' tales of separation across the old Cold War divide. And the ecstatic, tearful and sometimes sorrowful reunions that followed '89.
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:42 PM on November 14, 2013


littlesq: "Eyebrows McGee that is the sweetest thing ever. I may or may not be tearing up right now."

It was super-awesome and there were like 100 people at the party, a lot of relatives, but also his friends from 80 years ago and their families who brought them, and if I live to be 85 I think having 100 people at my birthday party is a sign I have Won At Life.

But also they were telling stories about sneaking into burlesque clubs and stealing rides on the backs of streetcars so it was pretty great just in general.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:45 PM on November 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


I wish I could've found my grandmother's childhood friends from Lahore, but I don't remember any stories, just about her ayah (who had to have been older than her).
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:00 PM on November 14, 2013


For whatever it's worth, Google Plus is more popular in India than here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:11 PM on November 14, 2013


I would have loved to watch this on my Lumia 920 but the motherfuckers at Google have decided to strangle Windows Phone and refuse to release any google apps except for an eviscerated version of YouTube, so fuck Google.

I like the ad, but Google can burn in hell.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:14 PM on November 14, 2013


Yeah, it's just a damn commercial. But hey, that's not the worst indictment in the world.

I did wonder at how facile some of the examples were, like "oldest sweet shop near Mochi Gate", which is not necessarily the sort of thing covered by PageRank. But I hope I'm not out of line here in feeling it's good that the issue is being discussed, and that it's maybe a sign of a continuing Pakistan-India thaw (which ... a quick Google ... suggests may have been a greater feature of the 2010-2012 period than anything this year).
posted by dhartung at 10:19 PM on November 14, 2013


[Comment deleted; Max Udargo, you need to step away. This isn't your soapbox or the place for offensive analogies.]
posted by taz at 10:57 PM on November 14, 2013


eyebrows: it may just be because it's the middle of the night and I'm reading mefi to get back to sleep, but i keep reading your comment as your grandad and his buddies sneaking into burlesque and getting rides on the backs of dancers.

so i now have this image of a bunch of 10 year old hooligans get piggy back rides from chicks in wild fetus and everyone have a grand old silly time.
posted by sio42 at 11:18 PM on November 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would have loved to watch this on my Lumia 920 but the motherfuckers at Google have decided to strangle Windows Phone and refuse to release any google apps except for an eviscerated version of YouTube, so fuck Google.

I like the ad, but Google can burn in hell.


oh how the tables have turned.
posted by empath at 11:32 PM on November 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've noticed a few Indian film-style ads going viral lately. One that's been all over my Facebook feed recently is this ad for wedding jewellery by Tanishq.

The Tanishq ad was widely remarked upon within India for two reasons: one of them is the 'aha' moment of the story, so I won't spoil it, but it speaks to changing beliefs about what kind of woman makes a respectable bride. The second is a rather awful reflection of Indian prejudices about skin tone: the lead actress is - apparently - considered "dark-skinned", at least in comparison to the extremely pale "ideal" portrayed across the Indian media.

As a non-Indian, I didn't pick up on this at all until the comments started coming in - to me she looks quite pale in comparison to the diversity of Indian skin tones - but no, her "darkness" was a really big deal. People were genuinely astonished to see someone of her skin tone not only on television, but being portrayed as beautiful. It was sort of like when Tina Fey was celebrated for being "curvy" - on the one hand, yay, diversity in body types is great, but on the other hand, the fact that it was even remarked upon shows just how narrow the accepted norm is.

Anyway, I do understand the urge to reject these stories simply because they are advertisements, but I think they can also be seen as cultural artefacts; snapshots of a society which is undergoing monumental and rapid change. Television advertisements in India reach an enormous audience - perhaps even larger than Bollywood films (after all, you have to pay to see a film, but even the poorest of slums will have a family or two who own TVs). It's fascinating to see the country's changing norms and values being played out and re-imagined on screen, even if ultimately it is "just an ad".
posted by embrangled at 12:01 AM on November 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


Thanks for the link to the Tanishq ad. I was pleased to see an enormous number of positive comments on YouTube about it. And not too many references to her skin color, though still some. It's still incredibly bizarre to me how the majority of India's population are near-invisible on Indian advertising/film/TV.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:56 AM on November 15, 2013


The google ad was neat in its knowing and deliberate melodrama, and the jewelry one made me smile. Ads sometimes say something, purposefully or not, about a society and a moment in time, and though of course their primary purpose is to sell, sometimes there is more going on.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:28 AM on November 15, 2013


re: "cultural artefacts; snapshots of a society which is undergoing monumental and rapid change"

industrial musicals!

also btw john st :P
posted by kliuless at 7:07 AM on November 15, 2013


Those mo-fos at Google. Screw them. Did they really think I *needed* to be sitting here at a coffee shop, crying, getting weird looks, not necessarily in sympathy. Sniffling, too, that's nice, go ahead, move to a another seat, pal, youtube videos aren't contagious, viral is a euphemism or something. I don't know if that's the right word, but who do you think I am, languagehat? Jeez, some days it's all just too much.


If your eyes did not moisten for this, you need to seriously grow your heart a little; being a grinch is not good for you. There is nothing I did not love about it, and I'll bet they tested those searches before they ran it, and furthermore,
posted by theora55 at 7:24 AM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I won't lie--I loved that ad, and the follow-up ads, and the Tanishq ad, and I sincerely hope that this thread becomes a repository of feel-good-y ads. Maybe that makes me one of the sheeple, but advertising is one of the few forms of media in which we're sold the idea of happiness--the idea that you can reunite people and change lives because of these stupid, fallible magic boxes that live with us now.

When was the last time you watched any longer form of media where the basic message was that people are good, and that our lives are changed not because of superheroes, or of random acts of cruelty and violence, or spontaneous horrible misfortune, but because people are basically good and want to be good to each other? I know that there's some television out there that more or less comes close (I think that Bob's Burgers often hits it, as does Parks and Rec, and I'm sure there are others), but the top ten shows by Neilson rank for last week were two football things, one news thing, The Big Bang Theory, three crime dramas, one awards show, and two reality shows. In terms of things that are presenting you with a narrative, you've got The Big Bang Theory and three crime dramas.

And I get it--it's hard to sustain a narrative drive and dramatic tension without bad things happening, for one reason or another, and there's the Tolstoy thing--every happy family is alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. But I'd like, just once, to see the guys on Law and Order find out that the kid wasn't abducted, he'd just wandered into the woods at the park and last track of time, and eventually some nice normal person found him and helped him get home.

I think that people react so strongly to this sort of commercial because it's really not a thing that we see a lot of. Movies, television, and news media all have to take the road of high drama, even when there's a happy ending, because getting people overly invested and sticking around as long as possible is what buys their supper. But commercials have the unique position of being a form of media that wants to make people feel good, and wants them to believe that people--and, yes, products and corporations--can make the world a better place. Maybe I'm being naive or stupid or whatever, but personally, I want to believe them.
posted by MeghanC at 9:18 AM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


MeghanC, this ad is along the same lines of bridging divides…
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 9:42 AM on November 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


One that's been all over my Facebook feed recently is this ad for wedding jewellery by Tanishq.

Weird, suddenly my office became so... blurry...
posted by Sara C. at 9:43 AM on November 15, 2013


Television advertisements in India reach an enormous audience - perhaps even larger than Bollywood films (after all, you have to pay to see a film, but even the poorest of slums will have a family or two who own TVs).

Is this the case now?

My understanding (from ~10 years ago when I was working on Bollywood and Indian-American films) was that film was the true mass media in India, whereas TV was more middle class. Film projectionists travel to villages all over India, and tickets are quite affordable, whereas in order to have TV you need reliable electricity and an expensive appliance, at the bare minimum.

That said I'm dimly aware that Indian TV and film have both changed a lot in the 5+ years since this was a factor of my daily life. So I wouldn't be surprised if my notions about it were outdated.
posted by Sara C. at 9:48 AM on November 15, 2013




One of my favorite ads growing up in India was this Hutch boy and pug ad. Very evocative of a certain time in my life for me.
posted by peacheater at 2:24 PM on November 15, 2013


Microsoft/Skype are coming at this in a slightly different way with their Stay Together contest. This example made my screen extremely blurry.
posted by vac2003 at 3:29 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now all Google needs to do is connect the people of India with, say... food.
posted by markkraft at 4:36 PM on November 15, 2013


Is this the case now?

My understanding (from ~10 years ago when I was working on Bollywood and Indian-American films) was that film was the true mass media in India, whereas TV was more middle class. Film projectionists travel to villages all over India, and tickets are quite affordable, whereas in order to have TV you need reliable electricity and an expensive appliance, at the bare minimum.

That said I'm dimly aware that Indian TV and film have both changed a lot in the 5+ years since this was a factor of my daily life. So I wouldn't be surprised if my notions about it were outdated.


I'm no expert either, but a survey this year found that 70% of slum homes have TV sets. In urban areas, at least, poor people often do have electricity - it's just not necessarily safe or legally acquired. Regarding films, I've heard anecdotally from friends in India that a lot of the old single-screen cinemas are shutting down, replaced by multiplexes in malls, where ticket prices are pitched squarely at the middle class. The audiences at the older-style (i.e., affordable) cinemas are also highly gendered, at least in the cities I know well - lots of rowdy young men and very few unaccompanied women.

So yeah...I don't really know which audience is larger, but I think TV is certainly enough of a mass medium to be one of the places where cultural norms are challenged and contested on a national scale. I mean, sure, my liberal, educated, middle-class Indian friends may be applauding Tanishq for their courage in showing a "dusky" bride celebrating her second marriage, but would I imagine the ad has also stimulated some interesting dinner conversation in parts of Indian society where those ideas are still utterly radical.
posted by embrangled at 5:07 PM on November 15, 2013


In urban areas, at least, poor people often do have electricity - it's just not necessarily safe or legally acquired.

This is probably the big game changer, then.

Up until the last decade or so, the power outage has been a defining fact of Indian life. I'm kind of curious how obsolete that is nowadays.
posted by Sara C. at 5:31 PM on November 15, 2013


Oh, don't worry, rolling blackouts are still a thing, just for new and different reasons - these days the grid is struggling to meet the demand from the new middle classes running their air conditioners all summer.
posted by embrangled at 5:37 PM on November 15, 2013


I guess this made it to NPR. Kind of a crazy story.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 9:42 PM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


the Ogilvy India team that developed the ad

like those emo thai life insurance commercials! (more here ;)
posted by kliuless at 10:08 AM on November 16, 2013


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