Viewers have been trained, upon hearing the name Terrence Malick, to expect three-hour prestige dramas starring an A to Z list of actors in need of a resume boost or a shot of indie cred.
But Google’s latest ad, created to promote the new Pixel 3 smartphone, doesn’t include any soliloquies on the nature of impermanence or extended shots of Sean Penn’s dramatically haggard face.
It’s a much more gentle exploration of curiosity and a world filled with information narrated, appropriately, by Fred Rogers performing his 1979 number “Did You Know?”
The work, like the song itself, celebrates youth and a certain wide-eyed trust in the inherent goodness of others.
Its interlocking scenes primarily highlight young people seeking information and looking to understand the world around them. Interestingly, smartphones are nowhere to be found in some of these more intimate landscapes except, perhaps, as stand-ins for the camera.
The larger point, made throughout the ad, is that the Pixel—like all Google products, of course—helps facilitate and encourage the same sense of wonder that inspired the famous TV host to sing.
New York’s Droga5, which made the spot, recently expanded its relationship with Google. In July, Adweek reported that the shop had successfully defended its Pixel work in a review while also winning a new assignment to promote the G Suite collection of cloud computing tools.