Launching a product that’s already in a market dominated by a strong incumbent is tricky – even if you are Google, one of the world’s best-known brands.
For the UK launch of Google Home, we needed to look beyond the usual product launch clichés. We focused on creating an imaginative, well-crafted experience built on a strong insight and driven by a single-minded creative concept. This launch needed its own moment to drive sales, reminding people of the product benefits as well as the price.
Up for the challenge, we set out to create widespread awareness of Google’s first smart speaker launch in both technology and mainstream lifestyle publications, and to generate positive press coverage about the benefits of Google Home.
Research focused on looking at the wider impact of technology – on both society and family life. We learned that although technology enables incredible experiences and new possibilities, a story of increasing isolation and breakdown in social interactions came about. And while our love of smartphones might be connecting us with people all over the world, it also places a physical, real world barrier between us and those that are right there in front of us. Nowhere is this more keenly felt than in the home, where family members can all sit around the same table and yet all be engrossed with their screens, rather than each other.
Google Home – thanks to its voice-based interface – shifts the paradigm in favor of our social selves; from individual, screen-based interactions to shared, human experiences.
We saw an increasing interest in digital detox and ways of limiting screen time in the home. And realized that Google Home is very much a part of the solution, not the problem.
“Welcome Home” – a social, screen-free dining and product experience in which technology was just one of the guests.
We broke traditional tech launch rules by creating an aspirational home in which people were encouraged to put their phones down and be more “in the moment” – to enjoy being together. The space was informal, human and warm. By turning a raw, industrial space into a beautifully designed and dressed home, we displayed products in a “homey” setting – a world away from the sterile, all-white world of tech events.
The main presentation was screen-free – just the presenter and product – with guests seated at round tables, enjoying a social dining experience. And the product demonstrations were more like informal conversations, conducted in the “rooms” of Google’s stylized home, allowing guests to experience first-hand this social application of the internet in a variety of settings.
After dinner, journalist and influencer guests were invited into transformed spaces that brought Home to life in the living room, bedroom and kitchen. Each was equipped to show off the device USPs to their fullest.
Guests had a chance not only to experience a new product, but to understand the social context in which it belongs; a new and relevant story that gave plenty of momentum to this exciting product. In this environment, they had a chance to see how their lives can be enhanced, not hijacked, by tech.
Thanks to a very sociable UK launch for Home, Google secured 170 pieces of positive coverage directly resulting from the launch event including major mainstream publications, tech publications and tech blogs such as:
- T3 magazine
- The Sun
- The Times
- The Mirror
- Stuff magazine
- Pocket Lint
- Trusted Reviews
- Ars Technica