Google tackles bullies in Oscars ad

Technically Incorrect: In the middle of the traditionally turgid show, an ad for Android tried to do some good.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


papersciss.jpg

And they lived happily ever after.

Android/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

First, Oscars host Chris Rock explained how whites keep down blacks in Hollywood.

Then the triple act of rock, paper and scissors explained how bullies keep down victims in schools everywhere. In this case, the victim is a simple piece of paper.

I won't dwell on the fact that the paper in the Google ad, which launched during the Oscars broadcast, is white.

Instead, I'll note that the ad sought new meaning for Google's Android message of "Be Together, Not The Same."

This series of ads has included clear pokes at Apple, such as a recent one that suggested the iPhone is a one-note piano.

This new ad, however, tells a simple story about a piece of paper that goes to school, is bullied by a bunch of scissors and is even shunned by his paper peers.

It takes one friendly pair of scissors to reach out and make a difference.

As the two new friends walk along the street, they see a rock being bullied. In turn, they help the rock.

The ad sparked a tumbling of emotional responses on Twitter.

There is a certain elegance in using such simple and familiar symbolism to address what remains a serious problem.

The federal government's anti-bullying website refers not only to those who bully and are bullied, but also to those who stand by and do nothing. It plainly states: "Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide."

This isn't the first time Google has addressed bullying. In 2011, the company participated in the "It Gets Better" campaign that fought against homophobic bullying.

Of course, those of insistently dry countenance will suggest that it's Apple who's the bully.

This can't be. Apple's being bullied by the FBI, right?

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