The Superbowl Ad that left it’s Audience in Tears

During the 2020 Superbowl, Google broadcasted an advertisement showing just how important their products’ Google Assistant feature can be. Whether that be to remember a location, play a favorite movie, or even set important reminders. The commercial in question, was an emotional tear-jerker by the name of “Loretta.”  

The commercial follows an 85 year old man, who is using Google Assistant to keep the memory of his late wife alive. The commercial begins with a solemn chord progression on piano, followed by a Google search “how to not forget”. It then shifts to an image of a result emphasizing “repeat a detail.” The old man begins asking Google to do things related to his late wife (“Show me pictures of me and Loretta”, “Play our favorite movie” etc). He then asks the Google Assistant to remember things for him about his late wife (“Remember Loretta loved going to Alaska” and “Remember how she always snorted when she laughed”).

The Logical Fallacy in Place

Through the logical fallacy of emotional appeal, Google does an amazing job of making you feel for this old man and his late wife, and maybe even want to purchase one of their products for yourself. If not to buy their products they at least made a commercial they knew that their audience would not forget. According to Google’s chief marketing officer Lorraine Twohill revealed in a blogpost revealing the TV spot, “‘Loretta’ reflects our goal to build products that help people in their daily lives, in both big and small ways.” This refers to minor things like finding a location, to more sentimental things like asking the Google Assistant to remember things about late loved ones so they are not forgotten, like the commercial so greatly depicts. 

Rhetorical Canons

The two rhetorical canons that I believe this advertisement is greatly illustrating are “Style” and “Arrangement”.

In terms of Style, from the very beginning of the commercial you can hear slightly somber music in the background. Most would immediately recognize the tune as the popular A Great Big World song, “Say Something”. The way you can hear the sorrow but joy in the old man’s voice as he is reminiscing on the lovely memories of his late wife is, I believe, a stylistic choice as well. 

In regards to “Arrangement,” I believe the commercial did a fantastic job. From the beginning you are given a somber chord progression, and to see the Google search “how to not forget” you know you are in for a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The way the commercial is pieced together, showing you what the Google Assistant is capable of while still causing us to feel for this old man is a great tactic on Google’s part. 

Relatable & Memorable

Towards the end of the commercial, we are given a few what seem to be home videos of sorts, which cause us to feel more for this old man, and as the ad concludes, to read some of the reminders that he has told the Google Assistant to remember such as “Loretta used to hum show tunes”, “Loretta had the most beautiful handwriting” “Loretta used to say “tickled pink”, and even the end where it says “Loretta always said, don’t miss me too much, and get out of the dang house”, it reminds us as the audience of the human element that this advertisement sheds light on. It is relatable, and memorable, and that, in my opinion, is what a great commercial accomplishes.

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