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What we really want to know, revealed: Google’s Year in Search 2020

What we really want to know, revealed: Google’s Year in Search 2020

The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. With the world and news agenda fast-changing around us, now’s the time to get agile in how we think and work.

This newsletter brings you the best of the week in the ‘new normal’, straight from the desk of the Innovation team.

It comes around quicker ever year. Revealing our most unfiltered interests and our most shameful gaps in knowledge.

The Google Year in Search

And this year in which it’s been made clear that no one really knows anything at all, we can imagine that Google’s search function has been more abused than ever before.

The UK Google Year in Search 2020 lays bare what we’ve all been frantic to know, whether during confusing Government press briefings (is a Scotch egg a substantial meal?) or in those solitary, 4am frantic, blue light-bathed searching sessions.

2020 reflects the mood of a nation unmoored by former convention.

How to..?

In a year in which none of us had any footprints to follow, we all wanted to know ‘how to?’

We became hairdressers, bakers, candlestick makers.

The top five ‘how to’ searches were:

  1. How to make a face mask?
  2. How to make hand sanitiser?
  3. How to make bread?
  4. How to get tested for coronavirus?
  5. How to cut your own hair?

And, falling out of the top spot, but most chillingly of all: ‘how to cook eel?’

The big topics

Of the top five searches, COVID took up three of the spots.

Of the remaining two spaces, the topics featured were the US elections (after a protracted and convoluted presidential race, the most searched question in the UK was ‘who won the election?’) and celebrity Caroline Flack, who took her own in February 2020, prompting an anti-bullying ‘#BeKind’ campaign.

  1. Coronavirus
    2. US election
    3. Caroline Flack
    4. Coronavirus symptoms
    5. Coronavirus update

When will this all end?

Caught in a no-man’s land of suspended time, we were desperate to know when things were starting and ending.

  1. When will lockdown end?
  2. When will gyms reopen?
  3. When does lockdown start?
  4. When will schools reopen?
  5. When does furlough end?

And for those searching the second most popular ‘what is?’ question – ‘what time is Boris Johnson’s speech today?’ – it’s unlikely that even all-seeing Google could give you an accurate answer for that.

Will it be 4pm? Or 6pm? Maybe he’ll take the midnight headliner slot. No one knows: we’re all running on Boris time.

See the full search here

Our tool of the week comes straight from the creative brain of Innovation’s Visual Strategy Director, Matthew McGuinness – and it is one for us to wield going into 2021.

“Last year just before the pandemic, Pantone chose Classic (corporate) Blue as the colour of 2020.

The colour is evocative of calm confidence, connection, and a sense of thoughtful stability. Much of this decision was to counterbalance the rogue wave of conservative populism which was undoing so many democratic norms we have grown accustomed to. Beyond the psychological, little did the prognosticators know that tonal varieties of this Classic Blue would become the physical colour of our landscape, adorned by the PPE protecting frontline workers caring for COVID patients.

Here we are, 10 months into the global pandemic, having experienced the most difficult days of our collective lives and, despite the dull December days afoot, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It is in this sense of hopefulness and the spirit of human determination that Pantone has chosen (PANTONE 17-5104) Ultimate Grey and (PANTONE 13-0647) Illuminating Yellow for the Colours of the Year 2021.

The grey is rock solid, enduring, and the colour of the built environment. It is also the colour of intellect – grey matter makes up the region in the brain attributed to muscle control and sensory perception, such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech and self-control.

The yellow is warm, optimistic and cheerful, like a smiley face (emoji). It also speaks to the solar strength of the sun and the power of regeneration.

2021 will be the second time in the twenty-plus years, Pantone has sourced two colours in conjunction for Colour of the Year. How apt a time, when today has never been more grey and tomorrow looked so much brighter – two different elements, two independent colours, working together to support one another. An appropriate metaphor for the times.”

This week’s tip comes from Account Director, Kaj Sahota.

On a recent episode of her TV show Cook, Eat, Repeat, Nigella Lawson unintentionally created a ‘moment’ with her…unorthodox…pronunciation of the word ‘microwave’.

Holding up a jug of milk which, she shared, had been heated (in the celebrity cook’s own words) “in the ‘micro-wah-vey,” the rest of the recipe became obsolete. Nigella’s pronunciation became the star of the show.

And the internet whipped itself into a frenzy, culminating in this (faux) IKEA X Nigella collab – a £49

“Meekrø Wahvé”.

It’s an example of how one moment so small can morph into an entire movement, bringing so much joy to so many.

Watch the video here

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