This Google ad during the Final Four made more than a few pandemic-weary viewers cry – The Boston Globe

The commercial starts out simply enough.

A delicate piano melody plays in the background. The classic white Google search engine dominates the screen. Keyboard strokes ring out as an invisible computer user types out words that have largely come to define the pandemic — or, rather, life — for most people this past year: quarantine, social distancing, school closings, and lockdown.

But it’s what follows that appears to have struck a chord with many. The Google advertisement was first aired during the NCAA Final Four game on Saturday and those on social media were quick to note how it made them “emotional” or even “cry” for the message it conveyed.

After the brief but stark reminder of the toll the virus has taken, the music picks up in speed and familiar sounds emerge — school bells ringing, chatter amongst a group of people, laughter from a crowd — as words are highlighted and promptly deleted from the search bar and Google Calendar. Happy hour and play dates are no longer virtual, weddings no longer postponed, nor sports seasons canceled. And a theater and restaurants displayed on Google Maps switch from being “closed” to “open.”

It ends with a simple message, also the title of the commercial: “Get back to what you love.”

But it’s also a call to action: Get vaccinated. The final clips display a user typing out the words, “covid vaccine near me,” and following, a link to cdc.gov encouraging the audience to learn more.

When Amanda Litman, the cofounder and executive director of Run for Something, said she was “absolutely furious” that a Google ad made her “tear up,” Marvin Chow, vice president of global marketing at Google, quickly responded.

“Whatever it takes to make us all safe,” Chow wrote back.

Watch the advertisement for yourself:


Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.