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Amid worries around tech’s tendency to track our every move, Google has flipped this idea on its head in a tear-jerking ad that aired during the Super Bowl, showing how seniors can use the Assistant to remember important life moments. We explore the insights behind this and why Google is reframing its Assistant as a helpful force for good.

Viewed more than 44 million times, Google’s Super Bowl ad, titled 'Loretta', centers on an elderly man using his Google Assistant to help him remember things about his late wife. Against a backdrop of images and videos of the couple, the man laughs and makes comments like "Hey Google, remember Loretta hated my mustache," followed by a notification from Google Assistant saying "OK, I’ll remember that." The ad ends with the tagline: 'A little help with the little things'.

“The ad reflects our goal to build products that help people in their daily lives, in both big and small ways. Sometimes that’s finding a location, sometimes it’s playing a favourite movie, and sometimes it’s using the Google Assistant to remember meaningful details,” says Lorraine Twohill, Google’s chief marketing officer.

Google shows how its Assistant can give older people comfort
Google (2020) ©

Despite stereotypes that seniors lack digital literacy, older generations are embracing tech that can help them with everyday tasks as well as provide company and companionship. Indeed, the number of American Seniors using smart speakers grew by 36.3% between 2017 and 2018. What’s more, Google’s focus on providing support for those with deteriorating memory taps into the needs of the 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. At a time when 41% of voice assistant users have concerns about trust and data privacy, Google’s ad serves to shed light on the benefits of these devices – both in terms of practical helpfulness and emotional support.

Anna Yaffe is an intern at Canvas8 and a psychology and cognitive neuroscience graduate. Born and bred in Manchester, she can be found revelling in all of London’s tourist hotspots while making her way through the entire collection of Desert Island Discs podcasts.


11 Feb 20
2 min read

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