23 January 2019
Ad Analysis: Home Alone Featuring Google Assistant
In the 1990 movie Home Alone, 8-year-old Kevin McCallister, was mistakenly left behind at home during his family’s Christmas trip, where he challenged two burglars through gearing booby traps around the house. Just when you thought mister and misses McCallister would perform a better job as parents and remember their kid, but “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it,” as George Santayana once said. In the 2018 Google advert, adult Kevin McCallister, is – once again – forgotten by his family; however, this time he is greatly prepared compared to the prior experience. The advert which promotes Google Assistant devices stars actor, Macaulay Culkin, playing a grown-up Kevin, who tries to protect himself and fend off two house intruders. This time; however, Kevin does not execute his operation alone (as he did in the original film), but with the aid of Google Assistant. This advert goes to show that Google explicitly sells Google Assistant – an artificial intelligence virtual assistant, but it implicitly sells nostalgia and childhood memories, along with idea of technology convenience with the use of a vastly adored film and a famous television character.
The ad – shown on YouTube -- starts off with a front view of the McCallister’s house, then spans to the kitchen where Kevin checks in with the virtual assistant on his tablet for the day’s schedule, which tells him “you have one event called ‘house to yourself’.” Subsequently, he spends the next hours commanding the virtual assistant to add aftershave to his shopping list, to set a reminder for washing his bed sheets, to communicate with the pizza delivery person through a smart camera system, and to adjust the house temperature. Afterwards, he settles down at the dining table preparing to consume his mac and cheese with a glass of milk when the clock strikes exactly at nine. While the burglars’ van arrives outside the house, Kevin orders his Google Home to begin his operation – “Operation Kevin underway,” the virtual assistant replies. The operation directly goes in effect by automatically switching on the lights, locking the door, and setting a cutout of a mannequin and basketball player, Kevin Durant, in motion with the help of a robotic vacuum. Meanwhile, the song “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee is played in the background. All of these “tricks” are meant to give the burglars of the impression that the house is occupied. Unlike the original movie, where we get to see more actions, the Google ad cuts to its ending with a message which says, “Make Google do it.”
The Google Assistant advert was published and shared on national television and YouTube – a video-sharing platform owned by Google. The company chose to promote their products via a commercial to implement their remake of Home Alone, along with a beloved fictional character. In the article The...