Just Google It!

The increased reach of internet connectivity has no doubt robbed travel agents of many commission dollars – our agent has point blank refused to help with visas alone, ever since we started booking flights and hotels online – while it has opened up untold opportunities to the independent traveler.

With access to vast databases of firsthand traveler reviews and experiences, the whole world is practically at your fingertips. With a bit of patience, and a lot more cash.

And of course, Google.

That ubiquitous staple of modern society, whose name in fifteen short years has become as genericised as Xerox or Band Aid.

And just in case there is still anyone in the subcontinent that hasn’t heard of the search engine, Ogilvy India has launched this masterful advertising campaign that invokes the bitter memory of partition while hitting all our mushy, sentimental buttons.

In Hindi with subtitles, but words are redundant really. Take a look.

A bit of a fairytale, because I believe the visa process is not quite as simple as portrayed. But the runaway success of the campaign points to the fact that at a fundamental level people on both sides long for peace.

But who is listening? Or should I say, watching?

In tribute to the marvel of the connectivity that makes all this – us – possible!

Have a great week ahead.

Posted by

Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

98 thoughts on “Just Google It!

  1. Now I have to redo my makeup before I go out Madhu! Thank you, through the internet I found my father and a huge family I didn’t know existed πŸ™‚

  2. Mushy, and manipulative = masterful in advertising terms Madhu. It sure brought a tear to my eye – wouldn’t it be wonderful if the politicians were watching too?

    1. Not holding my breath Meredith. We watched a play the other day called ‘A walk in the woods’ – adapted from the original by Lee Blessing – that exposes the charade of Indo Pak negotiations. I am inclined to believe it suits those in power, on both sides, to maintain the status quo. A convenient dog to beat when they need to distract us from their shenanigans.

  3. This is a beautiful campaign. I think we yearn to see people who love each other brought together after a long absence. We all need fairy tales once in a while.

    1. We certainly do Pat. This is particularly poignant because the two protagonists are from countries that have traditionally been arch rivals.

  4. What an incredibly powerful campaign and long may those threads of connection grow stronger. A beautiful and stirring piece Madhu.

  5. That’s a very powerful video. Very good.

    Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote a poem called ‘A Man’s A Man For A’ That’. I was thinking of this verse when watching the video.

    Verse 5 is below translated into the English language (it was written in the Scots language):

    Then let us pray that come it may
    (As come it will for a’ that)
    That Sense and Worth over all the earth
    Shall have the first place and all that!
    For all that, and all that,
    It is coming yet for all that,
    That man to man the world over
    Shall brothers be for all that.

    1. Thank you for that beautiful verse Jane! Sadly that ‘sense and worth’ is still a long way coming, if it arrives at all 😦

      1. We can always hope for peace in the world. With Christmas almost upon us we should remember what Jesus told his followers to do – love thy neighbour. You don’t have to be a Christian to follow that simple message.

      1. As with many other industries (the post office for example), the travel agencies need to start offering something different to their customers in order to keep them. The internet has changed the way we shop and it I stores that adapt that will survive.

  6. It’s amazing how quickly Google became an integral part of life. I remember back before it existed, but for most young people now, it has always existed.

    1. I do too. And like with calculators doing away with the necessity to mug up math tables, the internet makes research too easy for our young ones! Not sure if it is all good πŸ™‚

  7. I had viewed that one before Madhu and it was nice to review it again. Yes the mistrust has not ended but there are still people on both sides who remember their childhood pals fondly. What do they say? When the generals fight the soldiers are the ones to get wounded. But the old soldiers taking it literally now trained together in happier times and still had that respect for each other in spite of politicians and their ambitions. With the current generation those shared learning experiences are absent and they are more vulnerable to prejudices passed down the line. Partition was terrible and while the pain has somewhat eased the scars will remain for another generation at least. But like I said there are people on both sides of the divide who have fond memories of when they were all one. Having travelled both sides many times between 1970 – 1985 I know that for a fact.

    1. Your familiarity with the history and culture of the subcontinent never fails to amaze me Ian! I suspect the numbers of those that have fond memories of a united country must be few and far between. It is the prejudices of those that had no connection to partition that bothers me.

  8. Great insightful post Madhu. Yes I was sad when I eventually slipped away from using a travel agent but now a days I do not think they are worth the extra money. Maybe if I went somewhere REALLY remote but then I have all of you good people here as guides!

  9. It really is crazy how quickly Google and other companies have changed the way the world works. Do you remember using an actual library, encyclopedia, microfiche, the newspaper? I remember we had to use several different resources, now…It’s all available in one place. Definitely more simple…but some may say the art of research is almost over simplified.

    1. I am one of those that think, no worry, that our young have access to too much information, too easy. Anything achieved with less effort, commands less respect in my opinion. But we move with the times πŸ™‚ Appreciate your visit and comment Lindsay.

  10. Google… can’t even think everyday living without it! Lovely reading Madhu. Incidentally, a few days back I had written an article on Afghan rosh (first time bringing the issue of politics in my blog) and I felt happy telling myself that if the Google ad wasn’t inspired by my post, it was definitely inspired by the comments that followed the post… http://ishitaunblogged.com/2013/10/27/the-afghani-rosh-thats-forcing-me-to-discus-indo-pak-politics/

    1. Ha ha, it certainly would be flattering to count Piyush Pandey among your readers! πŸ˜€ Jokes apart, your article makes a good point. We Indians aren’t quite as liberal minded as we would like to believe. Strangely, it is those untouched by partition that are the most vociferous!

  11. I absolutely loved the ad!..discussed it in my circles as well. There’s different takeaway for everyone who has watched it and strikes a chord with all! Among so many ideas expressed subtly, it definitely shouts out “The web is what you make of it!”

    1. You are so right Tanmayi. And the possibilities are endless and liberating. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts πŸ™‚

  12. I cried, I have to confess, it was so soppy! And I loved the music too, perfect for such a mushy tale. I am such a sucker for Indian/Pakistani stories. There was quite a lot about partition in Bhutto’s autobiog, it was so interesting.

    Not a fan of google per se, I used to use alternative search engines but it’s a pain having to find them when the default is google. Like one of your other commenters I remember the days of encyclopedias, and rail timetables – Thomas Cook in the library, and painstaking research. Much more fun. And going to the big telelphone exchange in Delhi to call back home. No boring mobiles where you can speak immediately to family in UK. I’m glad I travelled before the internet. Much more of an adventure.

    1. Roughseas, If anyone is dry eyed after watching that, he/she is Atilla the Hun πŸ˜€ I think the music, with the brilliant lyrics, adds to the mushiness.
      I don’t doubt for a moment that India before the internet must have been a huge adventure!! How long were you here?

      1. Two or three months, can’t even remember now, just that it was certainly over Christmas New Year and it was freezing in Delhi, plus we also had a break when we cleared off to Nepal for a couple of weeks, and then came back to India. Loved it though.

  13. Gorgeous video and should be used as a tool of reconciliation – fundamentally we are all the same – As for Google and the travel agent (being an travel consultant myself ) it is a love hate relationship – the internet is such a blessing saves using the telex machines to book random lodges in Africa….

    1. Ha ha, I can imagine how they (and you too!) must hate Google while enjoying the convenience it offers πŸ™‚ I had almost forgotten telex and Fax machines!

    1. That site sure is interesting Cardinal!! Have you been using it for a while? So what is their revenue model without advertising?

  14. Great concept indeed Madhu and you know of course that I am a ‘Googlist’…yes? LOL! Lovely post and thanks for the share hon. *big hugs*

  15. Fairytale, perhaps, but I’d like to think that modern technology has helped many dreams come true, and I’m certain Google has made me a bit smarter! FABULOUS video, Madhu, I loved it!

    1. I have no doubt it has Elisa. I was referring to the level of difficulty involved in a meeting between individuals from these two countries. Glad you enjoyed this πŸ™‚

  16. Google pretty much has all the answers. The world seems closer, traveling got easier, things seem reachable at the touch of our finger tips. Wonderful post!

  17. This sweet and emotionally charged ad is indeed a masterpiece! And you are right the common folk of both countries have no hatred for each other. Fits nicely in the Travel agents theme. Thanks Madhu πŸ™‚

  18. Brilliant video! You’re right, subtitles are pretty redundant. My friends and I have a running joke of “Lets Google It” for every argument, questions, etc. The high and mighty Google, as we like to say πŸ™‚

    Search engines and the internet in general has been quite a blessing especially to us travelers. Yet I find that there will always be people who would much prefer to sit down with someone to plan out their entire trip. To each its own.

    1. I understand the reluctance to interact with a faceless entity. But I think it is a matter of time before everyone switches over. Not sure if that is a good thing either πŸ™‚

  19. What a beautiful, touching ad. I don’t know any Hindi (there weren’t any subtitles), but the message was loud and clear. I was crying at the end. Thank you, Madhu.

    My first experience of arranging a trip was to Costa Rica. “Fodor’s” was an excellent guidebook. Steered me to some great spots and wonderful people.

    1. Glad your enjoyed this Judy. Ogilvy India has a harvest of awards coming their way…no two ways about it πŸ™‚

    1. It is. And we all watch and shed a few tears. Then we forget all about it sadly 😦 Thanks Valentine.

  20. What a wonderful story, beautifully told.

    There is still a lot of work involved with googling, of course – it’s a skill to track down what you need amongst the clutter of the internet (I’ve sat beside people who don’t have it as they google – ugh!!) so I think for certain things and certain types of customer there will be a role for an intermediary.

    But it’s great to have the option to do things more independently and for those occasions where there’s nobody to do it except you – as in the case here.

    1. You are so right. Few of my friends have the patience for even a simple search, and even fewer are comfortable dealing with faceless entities online. I tell them they are just spoilt by friends who do their dirty work for them πŸ˜€

  21. A few years ago I started wondering why I never became a travel agent. I have always loved researching and planning trips. I really missed my calling there. There’s just no need for travel agents anymore. Well, there is for people who don’t like to do all the planning, but I wonder how much those people actually travel?

    Anyway, I, for one, am thrilled at the way the internet has opened up travel possibilities. I love exploring all my options and always wondered what the travel agents were privy to that I wasn’t. Not much anymore, that’s for sure.

    1. Not at all. We even get better prices, when we go directly to the people they subcontract to in the first place. And it makes me feel good that I am aiding local business, instead of helping large corporations leach away their dollars πŸ™‚

  22. Oh, Madhu, this had me crying! Worse than a Kodak or a Hallmark commercial! But it really does happen, as I discovered when Johan Lebichot found me on the internet and contacted me and brought our families back together after 70 years.

    1. Wonderful isn’t it? It is very much harder across our borders though. But the way this video went viral is cause for hope πŸ™‚ Thanks Naomi.

  23. What a wonderful ad, Madhu, thanks for sharing. It’s at once heartwarming and savvy. I love the underlying message that the internet (ok in this case Google) can break down man made barriers and be a tool in facilitating reconciliation. The web has done so much to further access to information and in doing so has shifted the balance of power from a privileged few to the masses.
    On the downside, the instant access to information seems to have led to a downward spiral in critical thinking and fact checking – all to often I see a tendency to latch onto a catchy ‘soundbyte’ and post it on social media without actually taking the time to find out the facts behind it. I’ve even seen seasoned journalists caught out in a rush to be ‘immediate’.

    1. I agree. People, especially young children, tend to forget that not all that they read online is the truth. Not even Wikipedia. In that sense it is a much easier tool for the manipulation of minds. We had communal riots take place on the basis of a fake video!! So yes, to be handled with care. Thank you for that very thought provoking response Ailsa.

  24. As Brits in Hong Kong, we’re just in the process of getting Visas to travel to India – 7 working days, 3 visits to the consular department and fiendishly expensive. So no, not quite as easy a process as depicted. On the other hand, I also used Google to find a childhood relative/friend of my father. They hadn’t been in touch for 50 years and the reunion was every bit as emotional as depicted in the video, so that aspect is very real.
    A great post Madhu, thanks very much

    1. How wonderful that you were able to track down your dad’s childhood friend! I feel this campaign might have been inspired by real life stories such as yours.
      The visa process isn’t any less difficult for Asians traveling to the West either. But you can multiply the hassles several fold for Pakistani residents traveling to India and vice versa πŸ˜‰

  25. Oh, that was very beautiful, Madhu. Good thing I had a tissue at hand while I was watching it. Thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

  26. This is not my wound, my sorrow, my separation —
    and I cried all the way through it anyway! Yes, my friend, we all long for peace and connection. This gives us a taste. Thank you.
    Namaste, Madhu.
    Some day maybe we will see you here!

    1. You never know Judith πŸ™‚ Glad this touched a chord. And here’s wishing the world fewer boundaries in the coming year!

  27. Partitions are painful. In countries and in families. This is a wonderful story even if it depicts a fairytale view of real life. I like the fairy tale version better… πŸ™‚

    1. So do I George πŸ™‚ And from the way people on both sides of our border are lapping this up, so do they! That has to be good.

  28. Google is dear to my heart Madhu, that is what number two son does in Paris, so we have lived up close to the buzz since he joined in about 2005 … I found unknown family too through the internet, a modern day miracle … and it certainly makes travel so much easier doesn’t it? Such a wonderful little film, I don’t wear makeup but I still need a tissue!

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