“Think how association, pure association, works. Take the Coca-Cola Company (we’re the biggest shareholder). They want to be associated with every wonderful image: heroics in the Olympics, wonderful music, you name it. They don’t want to be associated with the funerals of presidents and so forth.” –Charlie Munger
If I were running advertising campaigns for Google, I wouldn’t want my brand name associated with the image of dying dogs, even within the context of admirably visiting an ailing pet. The point of the commercial is to showcase the new features and functionalities of the Nexus 7—when the guy in the commercial learns that the flights to his home are full, he is able to verbally ask for directions home and learn of an Express Train route he can take.
This advertising campaign could have easily accomplished the same net effect (making us, the TV viewers, aware of the Nexus 7 features) without bringing in the dying dog. Instead of the mom texting that the dog is on the verge of death, the plotline should be altered to say “Your brother is getting married tomorrow, we only have 18 hours to get to Hawai’i!” Then, the guy in the commercial could have asked the Nexus 7 to get him to Hawai’i fast/cheaply/whatever it may be, and the commercial could have ended with him lounging in Hawai’i as he attends a wedding.
The advertisement would have managed to convey the same highlighted functionality of the product to us, but they could have done it in a way that took advantage of positive association mental models rather than tapping into the emotions that we associate with the onset of death. With a slight tweak, this “Made For What Matters” campaign could have been much more effective.