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How to sell a laptop with stupid copy

Google introduced a new laptop computer yesterday with one of the laziest product callouts I’ve ever seen. It’s fantastic. Let’s take a look at what Google’s hardware copywriters are up to.

The new machine, called the Google Chromebook Pixel, was introduced in the usual way, with a slick and detailed features page. It’s filled with the kinds of product callouts that people who enjoy computers (like me) gobble up voraciously.


Phrases like,

“A 0.55mm layer of touch-enabled Gorilla® Glass fused directly to the screen provides smooth touch interactions while preserving picture clarity.”

Wow, only 0.55mm!, I’ll think—as if I have any frame of reference for that piece of meaningless data.


“Pixel is machined from an anodized aluminum alloy to a tight tolerance, leaving nothing extraneous or distracting: vents are hidden, screws invisible, and stereo speakers seamlessly tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard.”

Hmm, anodized, I’ll ponder—feeling my wallet get lighter as I imagine other anodized aluminum alloy products I also might be able to buy, so everything on my desk matches.

It’s clear where Google is getting its inspiration. Over the last 15 years, one company has perfected the art of unnecessarily detailed, highly seductive product callouts: Apple. Apple has had massive success selling us shiny objects with this strategy. And Google is trying to position this notebook as an alternative to Apple’s Macbook Pro.

* * * *

So far, this is business as usual.

Then there’s this line which changes everything.


Suddenly the spell is broken.


“Lightbar. Just because it looks cool.” Are you freakin’ kidding me?

And I realize it’s a trap. I’m worshiping a false idol. I do not need another computer. Google has hijacked my budget planning and taken it for a little joyride for the sake of a status symbol that “looks cool.” A lazy, cynical, stupid line.

Yet one that’s totally self-aware and accurate, just funny and sly enough to make me think, Google! Those guys know what they’re doing.

I’ve been had, and I know it, and I still want that computer.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising, Technology

One comment

  1. Filip B says:

    Wrong, wrong way, Google

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