"The playground is open," says Google, and the Nexus 7 is just the toy for kids who want to spend the day outside, presumably sitting by the spiderweb-encrusted jungle gyms and monkey bars, staring unblinkingly at their hi-res, 1280-by-800-pixel, Corning-glass screens.
"Google, how far is Earth to the moon?" the adorable little girl in this new Mullen ad asks her tablet. And despite the scrambled diction of the not yet fully verbal child, a soothing female voice answers her exactly, knowing not merely what she has said but what she means.
Not to be picky, but this little lady is a sight more active than most of the digital-age kids I've met. We have a nephew who throws books across the room because the pictures don't move. If only all kids were like this little spaceship-ready towhead, with her DIY rocket and her instant access to frequently correct Wikipedia explanations of astrophysics.
Oh, fine, it's a cute ad. Director Frederic Planchon has done a great job keeping things looking a little home-video-ish but still composing every shot beautifully. And who doesn't like Curious George? (Kids with tablet computers, that's who!) The messy fort and the astronaut helmet and the cauliflower clouds over the Nexus 7 food-house are terrific, although the whole thing looks a little like a science project you know for a fact your neighbor's kid did not put together all by herself. (Neil Armstrong's death inadvertently makes the ad more poignant, that's for sure.)
Google's advertising for this particular product has been intense—it's given the Nexus 7 a homepage ad today, which happens very rarely, and it's far and away the biggest Google.com placement it's ever given one of its products, with the tablet sticking its attractive head up through a slit "cut" in the page.
Affordable, low-end tablet computers, of course, are not the endgame, even at a company with as much ready cash as Google. With the possible exception of the iPad, many are sold below cost to consumers (I'm including marketing costs here), with the profit coming from the higher-end models (there's an 8GB Nexus 7—that's the $199 version—and a 16GB version, priced higher) that cost roughly the same amount to make but have more processing power.
Now, here's Werner Herzog reading a different Curious George book.
Mullen's previous Nexus 7 spot, from July:
Brand: Google Nexus 7
Agency: Mullen (San Francisco) + Google
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
Group Creative Director: Paul Foulkes
Associate Creative Director/Art: Jeff DaSilva
Associate Creative Director/Copy: Jon Ruby
Copywriter: Jamie Rome
Art Director: Ryan Montgomery
Executive Director of Integrated Production: Liza Near
Executive Producer: Zeke Bowman
Associate Producer: Vera Skuratovsky
Content Creator: Emile Doucette
Strategy: Tara Inskip, Kay Pancheri, Laila Hannallah, Hannah Hewitt
Production Company: Anonymous
Director: Frederic Planchon
Executive Producer: Eric Stern
Producer: Paul Ure
DP: Kasper Tuxen / Martin Ruhe
Editor: JJ Lask
Assistant Editors: Ned Borgman / Matt Posey / Colin Reilly
Senior Producer: Laura Lamb Patterson
VFX: Brickyard VFX
Lead VFX Artist: Geoff McAuliffe
Executive Producer: Kirsten Andersen
Music: Squeak E. Clean Productions
Audio Post: Soundtrack
Sound Design/Mixer: Mike Secher