• 12.16.11

Google Shows Off Facial Recognition In New Galaxy Nexus Campaign

New ads use adorable moppet to demonstrate the human side of the new phone’s features

Google Shows Off Facial Recognition In New Galaxy Nexus Campaign

When you stare into the Galaxy Nexus, it stares right back into you… and realizes you look familiar. Sporting features such as facial recognition software, the anticipated new gadget is finally available in stateside stores today. While the technophiles among us may have memorized every facet of the new phone by now, everyone else is about to see what it’s capable of, as Google rolls out its new “Calling All” campaign.


The Galaxy Nexus, which debuted in Canada recently, is the first mobile device with the Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. Although the lead-up to the product launch was fraught with tension–Verizon moved to block the inclusion of the swipe-able virtual credit card function, Google Wallet, because of its own competing product, Isis. Although the feature was ultimately left off the device, it can be installed through other means. Of course, there are plenty of other noteworthy features on the phone, which Google is proud to show off in the new ads.

These spots, created by agency Mullen, take a human-centered approach to demonstrating the Galaxy Nexus’ unique tech functions. Each spot highlights a different aspect of what the new phone can do. One features a plethora of ethnically diverse B-boys having a cross-country beatboxing session over the phone using the new Hangouts feature. Perhaps most impressive, though, is the ad highlighting the device’s facial recognition software.

In the “Faces” ad, a rambunctious youngster has pilfered a phone from his father, but cannot seem to play with it. His attempts to unlock the phone by mimicking the face of its owner get increasingly adorable, culminating in pulled-back hair and a finger mustache that emulate his follicly challenged, ‘stache-equipped dad. Soon, the man himself appears, takes the phone from his boy, and the phone recognizes his punim. It’s basically like The Jetsons.

Pretty cool feature, but it also leaves a lot of questions unanswered, namely what would happen if the kid would have pointed the camera at a picture the father had taken of himself with the Galaxy Nexus’ 5-megapixel camera, and also why doesn’t Dad use this as a teachable moment about not going through other people’s things?

The ads were directed Matt Aselton, and they will begin running on national television imminently.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.