Google Zeitgeist 2011 Analysis Project


GoogleZeitgeist 2011 Analysis Project

TheGoogle Zeitgeist 2011 was an advertisement designed with theintention of depicting the Google Search engine as the dominantapplication. From a literary perspective, the advertisement seemslike an ordinary promotion from the company. However, the directoralso outlines a summary of the main issues that transpired across theglobe during the year. The rhetorical objective of the GoogleZeitgeist is demonstrating the importance of the internet inunderstanding cultural practices and values of people across theworld. However, the ad contained multiple trendy events thattranspired in the year. In a way, the advertisement content aims atdepicting the United States as a dominant force just like Google.However, the director twisted the content of the advertisement suchthat it would symbolize other critical factors that an ordinaryviewer will not distinguish. This essay will evaluate the political,social and the American dream themes.

Atfirst, an individual can take the ad as a regular promotion for theGoogle search engine as the most frequently used application inonline searches. However, the director has deliberately integratedvarious issues that generated high interest in different cultures.Most of the accomplishment and celebrities listed in theadvertisement are Americans, with the exception of a few persons suchSathya Sai Baba (Ellis 3). Nonetheless, the average reader looker ofthe ad will not establish that it contains only positive achievementsfor the United States (Popular Culture 1). The director deliberatelyomitted the negative things that occurred in the country such as theHurricane damage. After a viewer reads the advertisement, theydevelop a false impression that the United States is the mostpowerful country, and it is dedicated to making the world safer. TheObama’s video clip announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden is awise strategy for the United States government illustrating thesignificance of the American intervention on the global terror war(Brownlee et al., 2).

Oneof the critical allusions in the advertisement is the politicalprogress in the country towards fighting global terrorism. The adcontains a clip of Obama announcing the success of the US army inkilling Osama Bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda. From a criticalperspective, the first thirty seconds of the advertisements arefocused on promoting the Google search engine by showing the diversecontent it contained for its users in 2011. However, the scope of theadvertisement turns to political achievement from the thirty-firstsecond (Brownlee et al., 6). The father showed mourning a son he loston 9/11 attacks reminds the Americans sad memories of the loved oneswho died during the attack while at the same time offering them areason for celebrating the fact that Obama’s administration is nowdead (Ellis 5). The next episode is a success story of the SpaceShuttle Program. A woman and a military officer watching the planespacecraft as it took off could not hide their delight over thetriumph. Presumably, the joy for the two can illustrate the level ofhappiness among other Americans. The director then shifts the focusof the advertisement to African quests for democracy in the ArabSpring in Egypt to independence in South Sudan. Some youths from theSouth Sudan then appear on the screen urging the youths and othereligible voters to prepare for the upcoming election. Theadvertisement further emphasizes on the significance of democracy andstrength of people through the achievement of the Arab Spring(Brownlee, 2). The next episode focuses on the renowned persons whodied the same year.

However,Zeitgeist 2011 was part of a cleverly woven political campaignpromotion. The director manipulated the popular American culture insupporting Obama campaign. Since the 1950s, Americans have adopted aconsumerism habit of constantly pursuing additional goods andservices. Besides, American consumerism relates with the ownership ofvarious products via their identity. A person becomes famous andliked by the society if they have made tremendous achievements. Thefact that the ad outlined a variety of key Obama’s achievements inthe year such as killing the Osama Bin Laden, successfully launchingthe Space Shuttle Program, and remaining sensitive to the victims ofthe 9/11 attacks (Franklin and Michael 16). These achievements areintended to create a positive impression on the American public,which could then improve Obama’s presidential campaign. In fact,the Americans assert that, “Whoever dies with the most toys win.”The explanation of this metaphor is that Americans believe in peoplewho can identify with the highest achievement category. The directorof the advertisement carefully inserted key accomplishment of theObama’s administration in 2011 in the advertisement as a way ofhelping him to get higher support (Franklin and Michael 17).

Evenbefore clicking on an advertisement, the viewer can tell that itcarries a political message. A crowd composed of dull light personsmakes it impossible to identify a group on the surface. However, thelast person is carrying a flag while the others appear to be chantingas if they are in the demonstration. The flag hoisted is a SouthSudan’s symbol of national unity. South Sudan is inarguably themost recent country that is recognized by the internationalcommunity. Considering that the United States is a superpower, itplayed a significant role in the acquisition of the independence inSouth Sudan (Ciment 13). The citizens of the country carry placardswhen conducting apeaceful mass demonstrations intended for educatingcitizens on the democracy attained through open voting. The UnitedStates is regarded as the benchmark for democracy. In some cases, thecitizens might assume that the peace and stability they experience inthe country does not depend on the democratic administrationsprinciples that the founding fathers established. Nonetheless, SouthSudan has been used as a symbol that democracy is required toestablish a wealth and peaceful country. The Americans watching theadvertisement would become more loyal and cautious to avoid crashesand other misunderstanding that could obstruct development (Ciment19).

TheAmerican dream is one of the key principles that guide consumerism,political decisions, and economic lifestyle. The portrayal of thefamous people who died in 2011 such as Steve Jobs (Apple’s techguru), Ryran Dunn, Betty Ford, Al Davis, Andy Rooney, and JoeFrazier. The American dream is a concept that encourages all theAmericans, irrespective of their countries of origin, ethnicity, orthe resources they own, they have an opportunity for rising toexcellence in the United States (Ellis 14). The country has fairadministration and institutions for developing everyone’s talent.Joe Frazier’s photo in the ring was deliberately included in thelist of top celebrities who passed on in 2011 as a symbol of equalityfor all people in the United States (Marsden 8).

Theappearance of the Arab Spring in the web also proves that theAmericans played a role in the administration revolution. In fact,Barack Obama also supported suspension of President Hosni Mubarak’sas his thirty years regime were allegedly characterized with pooreconomic conditions, injustice, and correction. Some of the clipsaired in the ad showed the riot police trying to control protestersusing high-pressure water (Marsden 12).


TheGoogle Zeitgeist 2011 ranks among the most creative, diverse, andvaluable advertisements ever made in the United States. At first, thetitle of the advertisement and the image of dark figures carryingSudan’s flag create a sense of suspension. The secret behind everysuccessful ad is appearing unique and attracting viewers. In myopinion, the ad had he basic attractions requirements for making afirst impression (Ciment 8). Besides, the graphics, images, and soundused in the advertisement is perfect. The ad designer also managed tointegrate the political symbol in the adv, in a way, that some peoplemay easily miss (Marsden 13). For the first thirty seconds, a visitoris completely convinced that the Google Zeitgeist 2011 is a regularadvertisement. The ad shows various optimized keywords on the searchengine. A typical Google page appears on the page and begins typingvarious significant achievements in 2013 (Popular Culture 1). Amongthe listed developments, include diversity, cross roads, revolutions,remembrance, possibility, and inspiration. For the average reader,the information may appear an ordinary Google promotion technique.However, the designer intends to inform the public regarding diversekey activities the Obama administration within one year. TheAmericans have a tendency of voting for presidential candidates thatpromise to deliver the highest number of accomplishments (Brownlee etal., 24).

Thecompletion of this project has assisted me in developingcomprehensive understanding of the American subculture. For example,the Popular Culture website offers a wide range of individualbehaviors common with Americans. Similarly, this project has helpedme to develop critically analytical skills for identifying hiddeninformation in artifacts and advertisement messages. This form ofadvertising is mainly common in competitive politic environments suchas the United States. In my opinion, I find the content of the GoogleZeitgeist 2011 more political than promotional. The short clips areshowing Obama delivering a speech for announcing that the UnitedStates army has finally managed to kill the world’s most fearedextremists (Osama Bin Laden), the successful launching of the SpaceShuttle Program and the intervention of the Arab spring were amongthe major activities the government accomplished. The message contentalso illustrated the American dream effectively. The American dreamconcept states that all Americans are equal and have equivalentopportunities for prospering and generating wealth in the country.

Insummary, the GoogleZeitgeist 2011 advertisement is more political than promotionalbecause a significant part of the reviews and events that occurred in2011 to political issues. For example, it begins with theannouncement of the death of Osama bin Laden, the notorious Al-Qaedafounder. It then reflects on the 9/11 attacks through portraying afather who was crying over his lost son. The ad then focuses onsuccessful launch of the Space Shuttle program. These are some of thepositive attributes the Obama administration accomplished in 2011. Considering the 2012 was an election’s year, the Obamaadministration required a platform for communicating their agenda. The next picture features and excited mother-welcoming son, a USsoldier, back home from the war. The surprise return of the solderalludes to the Obama’s promise for recalling all the United Statesmilitary officers deployed to fight abroad. The director also focusedon the political heat in Africa, ranging from the Arab Spring thatousted the Egyptian president to establishment of the South Sudan,another politically unstable country. The ad also reviews the fightbetween protesters and the police in Athens. The combination of thesepolitical changes and perspective makes the advertisement appear morepolitical than promotional from the perspective of a criticalanalyst.


PopularCulture. “Consumerismand Miscellanenous Pop Culture Topics.”Cultural politics. Web. June, 6,2014. 24 (pop culture).

Brownlee,Jason, Tarek Masoud, Andrew Reynolds,Nathan Brown, MieczysawBoduszyñski and Duncan Pickard. Trackingthe “Arab Spring”.2013. 24(4): 1-15.

Marsden,George M. Fundamentalismand American Culture.Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.

Ellis,Richard J. AmericanPolitical Cultures.New York u.a: Oxford Univ. Press, 2008. Print.

Franklin,Daniel P, and Michael J. Baun. PoliticalCulture and Constitutionalism: A Comparative Approach.Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 2004. Print.

Ciment,James. ColonialAmerica: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and EconomicHistory.Armonk, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, 2005. Print.