In two weeks, a commercial advertising a basic Google tool, the search feature, has already had over 8 million views on YouTube. What would make a commercial without talking hamsters or crass humor so popular? It seems it is the story of friendship and connection. The commercial titled, “Partitions divide countries, friendships find a way,” tells the story of the impact of the India-Pakistan partition of 1947 on two childhood friends. Google India explains:
The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 separated many friends and families overnight. A granddaughter in India decides to surprise her grandfather on his birthday by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan) after over 6 decades of separation, with a little help from Google Search.
Likewise, Bank of America is rebranding its company with a “Life’s Better Connected” theme. In two commercials that have recently been released, the images and words focus on humans connecting with humans.
Before they became a family.
There was a connection that started it all and made the future the wonderful thing it turned out to be…
We know we’re not the center of your life, but we’ll do our best to help you connect to what is.
In a commercial aimed to show that human connection is Bank of America’s common goal, at 0:13, there is an interesting interaction around what it means to have a business relationship, and if those relationships can be “human.”
Felissa Cowell: We strive to make our relationships more human with each and every customer we have.
Auske Jurkute: I wouldn’t even say more human it’s just making relationships human. It’s the essence of what we do.
Stories of human connection are not just showing up in advertisements, but overwhelmingly in discussions of what makes quality media. Eric Maierson, a producer at MediaStorm recently blogged about being reminded that cinema aesthetics are valuable but shallow without stories of human connection. He stated:
I would trade a beautiful backlit mountain vista at sunset for a quiet moment of deep connection every time.
Likewise, during an interview with my grad students in a course on literature and the adolescent experience, Tyler Weaver, author of Using Comics to Construct Your Transmedia Storyworld, explained that stories of human connection are at the center of even the most cutting edge transmedia design. He explained:
The first rule of transmedia is that you tell good stories. The second rule of transmedia is that you tell good stories.
At 18:50 in the interview, Weaver spoke more in depth about what he meant by a “good story,” explaining that like any story, feeling connected to characters who are “real people” as opposed to stereotypical depictions, “characters not characterizations,” is the main criterion he uses to judge quality.