Is Google Instant ad trying to annoy Steve Jobs?

In launching Google Instant, the company made the curious decision of using Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs' hero, as the star of the launch ad.

If you were launching the first step into implanting your product permanently into someone's brain, would you employ Bob Dylan?

Oh, I know he's a very fine musician, autobiographer and performer at corporate functions. But does he still symbolize the idea that the times are a-changin' and your brain needs re-arrangin'?

This vexing question occupies the part of my mind normally reserved for baseball and scones because Google Instant, the search engine that tries to know what you want slightly before you do, seems to have done an ad featuring the original Robert Zimmerman.

To the tune of his "Subterranean Homesick Blues," we see how instantly Google's new tool anticipates the fact that someone is making an ad featuring the lyrics to "Subterranean Homesick Blues."

There will be some who on seeing this slightly prosaic work--a structural re-working of Google's little Parisian love movie with which it graced the last Super Bowl --will be wondering whether this ad is meant to make Steve Jobs sick in a subterranean way.

The Apple CEO is said to be moved by Dylan's music. In "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs," it is alleged that he quoted a whole verse of Dylan lyrics at a shareholders' meeting.

Those who believe that Google and Apple have become the India and Pakistan of tech will be suspicious. They will surely imagine that someone at Google chose Dylan--rather than something more Googlish like, say, Kraftwerk--specifically to offer a single, middle digit towards Apple's CEO.

But Google's choice does seem to be a curious one. Dylan, after all, is featured quite significantly in Apple's wonderful "Think Different" campaign.

Is it, therefore, terribly valuable to co-opt him to advertise Google Instant? Is it supposed to somehow suggest his endorsement of this fine, if somewhat censored, new product? Does it suggest that Instant is so fast that it even meets the approval of forever young 69-year-olds?

Or does Google still have some way to go in order to create ads that, well, think different?

 

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