Google Home gets ‘Beauty & The Beast’ promo, but Google says it’s not an ad

Danny Sullivan on
  • Categories: A-Post to Search Engine Land, Channel: SEO, Google: Google Home
  • Ask Google Home what your day is like today, and it will remind you that Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is opening. Google says this isn’t an ad. But it’s definitely an out-of-the-ordinary cooperation with a Google Home “partner.”

    The promotion was spotted by Bryson Meunier, whose child was definitely excited to hear the news delivered by Google Home (Listen for the cute “yeah!” at the end):

    Here it is on my own Google Home:

    Google sent Search Engine Land this statement:

    This isn’t an ad; the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales.

    That’s a head-scratcher. That’s a head-scratcher. Disney is the company behind “Beauty and the Beast.” Disney is not one of the official “partners” listed for Google Home.

    Moreover, this isn’t something that any partner could simply make happen without Google’s deep cooperation, to my understanding.

    Google has done a special message like this at least once before, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as 9to5Google noted then. But there was no company or product that benefitted from that.

    So, while the “Beauty and the Beast” promo might not be an ad in term of a direct exchange of cash, it’s very much a special commercial promotion that’s seemingly a first for Google Home — and likely the first of many to come.

    Postscript (6:20pm ET): Google has sent us a further statement, which perhaps was prompted by some negative reactions to the ad-that-not-an-ad that several expressed on Twitter:

    This wasn’t intended to be an ad. What’s circulating online was a part of our My Day feature, where after providing helpful information about your day, we sometimes call out timely content. We’re continuing to experiment with new ways to surface unique content for users and we could have done better in this case.

    The promo also appears to have been stopped. It no longer triggers on Google Home, in our testing.