Google begins campaign about connecting Canadians to the news they want

Who: Google Canada, with Church+State for creative, Airfoil for production, Grayson for music.

What: “Connecting You to All That’s News,” a new minute-long ad that illustrates how Google helps connect Canadians to news content.

When & Where: The campaign began earlier this week (Oct. 24) and will run into December as online video, in cinema, digital/social, as well as out of home and podcast.

Why: By now it’s a truism of the digital age that Google is a dominant player in news delivery—if not its production. Almost anyone looking for news online will ask Google to find it for them. The campaign reminds viewers of Google’s role in connecting them to the news they care about. So with Google’s position in online news very secure and no reason to think that will change any time soon, “why now” might be the better question here.

Why now? Good question. Google hasn’t said this, but it’s probably no coincidence that the ad comes as Google, along with Facebook, finds itself in the spotlight in Ottawa, as the Liberal government considers new legislation that would require the platforms to share some of the revenue they generate online with the outlets actually producing the news.

After all, it’s another truism of the digital age that the billions in ad revenue that used to support news outlets have moved to Google and Facebook. According to the government, Google and Facebook together take in 80% of all online ad revenue in Canada.

But Google has stood its ground and, aside from offering some solutions of its own—such as the introduction of its Google News Showcase in Canada—it wants to remind Canadians of the important role it plays in getting Canadians the news they want and need.

How: The spot adapts the familiar Google ad tactic of using its iconic and instantly recognizable search field as shorthand to remind people of just how much they use Google for. Behind the search field, a montage of clips depict a wide range of Canadian news as a narrator guides the viewer through each important moment—from sports and weather, to indigenous issues, the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine.

Ron Tite, founder and CCO at Church+State, said the agency worked hard to license a wide range of news footage that would resonate, and explained the strategic intent of the spot.

“News may be factual but how people respond to it can be very emotional,” he said in a release introducing the ad. “Importantly, those emotions aren’t universal. One news story can create completely different reactions from different people in different places. Because of that, we simply wanted to let connecting to news be the focus of this campaign.”

And we quote: “When Canadians want to understand or get updated on the most pressing topics, Google connects them to the news sources that provide it,” said Laura Pearce, head of marketing, Google Canada. “All of us at Google are proud to be that consistent and reliable connection for Canadians to the news they’re searching for.”

David Brown