Suraj Ramnath

When Google Earth helped Saroo Brierley find home

This new India-specific spot combines product demo with emotion.

In a rural part of India, how would a five year old child react if he or she got separated from a family member that too in an outstation bound train? Probably cry and look out for help! But what if you can't remember the station's name where your house is located or where you live? Well once you get separated that too at such a young age, it isn't easy at all to reunite with your family is it?

Google Earth an app by Google that lets you view any part of the world including the place where your house is located on Earth, through high resolution graphics and satellite images, has come up with a new digital film based on a real life story Google Earth: Saroo's Search. The ad film was released by Google on its official YouTube channel on November 22.

When Google Earth helped Saroo Brierley find home
Interestingly, the story of Google Earth's ad film is very similar to the story of upcoming Hollywood film 'Lion' featuring British actor Dev Patel. Interestingly, Patel as shown in the movie trailer uses Google Earth to search his home and reunite with his family.
When Google Earth helped Saroo Brierley find home
The ad film starts with the voice over of Saroo Brierly, a 30 year old man, who narrates his story of how he ends up getting into a train at the station in search of his elder brother and falls asleep without knowing the destination of the train. The boy, only five at the time, finds himself in Kolkata when he wakes from his slumber. He is then adopted by an Australian couple and grows up to be Saroo Brierly.

As an adult, he decides to start searching for his family and does that through the help of Google Earth. After making a tireless effort of searching his family for three years on Google Earth, with the slightest memory that he has about the nearby places in the vicinity of his house, he ends up finding his house near Burhanpur railway station and reunites with his family after 25 long years!

We asked our digital expert if the ad will impress the audience to start using Google Earth and is it well executed?

When Google Earth helped Saroo Brierley find home
Carlton D'Silva, chief executive officer and chief creative officer, Hungama Digital Services, a WPP-owned company, says, "I believe it will. Using a real story to show the scale and ease of the product along with addressing the core purpose of the product makes it much more appealing and convincing. The timing of the story too is bang on with the Hollywood feature film around the corner (Lion) based on the very same character. Some might say it's a bit opportunistic but I feel it's a piece of great brand integration."

Adding about the execution, he says, "I don't think this story could have been executed any better keeping the brand/product in mind. At first I was a bit confused, why is a person with an accent telling the story but that question was laid to rest quickly and eventually it worked out beautifully."

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