Google had the attention of the tech media and blogosphere most of last week by virtue of their annual I/O event, during which they announced many new products, services, and initiatives. One of those new products is the Chrome Book--a web-only laptop that aims to change personal computing forever by stripping out hardware and taking our computing experience into the cloud. To help explain (and sell) the Chrome Book to consumers, Google created a fantastic online video that is simple yet full of humor.
The Google Chrome Book Video Ads
The Chrome Book is a clever idea, and likely a fairly decent indicator of where we're headed, but it's also a bit ahead of its time. The device--and the need for it--require a little "selling" with the public, who don't always know their cloud from their internal hard drive. How exactly is the Chrome Book different from a regular laptop? Why does it boot directly to the browser? What do you mean I won't be able to change my desktop background. These are questions the public will be asking; thankfully, Google's already got a handy--and funny--answer.
Check out the multi-purpose video Google created to help demystify the Chrome Book:
It's quite possibly the first commercial I've ever seen for a consumer product that includes the warning, "Don't throw it in the river."
They've also made a second web video ad, which is a bit more "cute" than outright "funny," and concentrates more pointing out one of the biggest headaches of traditional personal computing--boot time:
Is Chrome Book Ahead Of Its Time?
There are many who feel like this kind of cloud-based set-up is where personal computing is heading. I happen to be one of them. But I do still think it's a little ways off. Most consumers just aren't ready to make the leap to a device that has no hard drive and no wallpaper... and that uses the web for everything. Despite the fact that technology has advanced to a place where this kind of machine is possible, the public is on a learning curve. It might take a while for them to find comfort with a computer this... light.
Don't forget how many shrugged shoulders Apple saw when they released the Macbook Air. People simply didn't understand a new laptop that had no CD/DVD drive or any real hard drive space to speak of. Yet a few years later, it's selling quite well, thank you very much.
So don't let the naysayers convince you that Chrome Book can't sell. It can. It may have an uphill climb--as does any product that first needs to educate the public about a problem before then selling them the solution--but it can sell. Macbook Air, tablet devices, and even smart phones are all increasing in usage and popularity, teaching the public little by little that they don't need local memory or disc drives... teaching them to rely on browser-based utilities whether or not they even know that's what they're learning.
Why The Video Ad Works
Which brings me back to the Google video. If they just released the Chrome Book without a simple explanation marketing piece, the public probably wouldn't see it as something new... it might get lost in a sea of other laptops---it looks just like a laptop, after all.
And Chrome Book is about more than selling devices. Google is trying to usher in a bit of revolution for personal computing. And when you consider how many Google services stand to benefit from a public shift to the cloud--YouTube, Docs, Calendar, the just-announced music storage service--you can see why they'd be interested in taking the time to educate them.
And their first ad out of the gate is a fantastic one.. one that educates while simultaneously entertaining. It won't single handedly win the marketing battle and make Chrome Book an instant success, but it'll help a great deal.