Gaga goes Google

“The web is what you make of it.” And so is the new Google Chrome advert with Lady Gaga. It would be incorrect to say that the Chrome advert features, or even stars, Lady Gaga; it’s really a Lady Gaga advert – promoting her new single, The Edge of Glory and the image of her as an internet-savvy superstar – with a Google cameo.

Of course, she’s not the only celebrity to do an advert. We’re accustomed to seeing Cheryl Cole on the telly, telling us we’re worth it and to “rock it” and “glam it” with the many different hairstyles we can wear (oh, the possibilities). Apparently Jennifer Lopez shaves her legs like us proving that, according to the Venus lyrics, she’s got it – whatever it is – and, more importantly, we can have it too. Zooey Deschanel gets the London look with Rimmel cosmetics and urges us to do the same. But when Lady Gaga appears on our screens using Google, something we all do or have done (let’s not talk about the people using Bing or still on Yahoo), it’s a big deal. We actually stop what we’re doing – making a cup of tea, talking, whatever we do in ad breaks – and watch, listen. Even if we didn’t know who she was, impossible to conceive as it is, if Lady Gaga walked into a room she would unequivocally command attention.

Perhaps what severs her from the herd of advertising celebrities is her distance from us. Of course all celebrities are distant (that’s where restraining orders come in) but Lady Gaga is really distant. Her name (Lady Gaga, not Stefani Germanotta), her cultish monster following (of which she is “Mother Monster”), her constantly evolving, cutting-edge image… All this makes us think of her as nothing but a celebrity. She’s a performer through and through, so much so that she’s almost unreal. So it comes as quite a surprise, naturally, to see her sitting at a computer tweeting her “little monsters” to stay strong (she is, after all, the queen of self-affirmation, advocating that she – and we – were born this way) and that she loves us, we’re her inspiration, etc. Of course anyone on Twitter will have seen her tweets but not her actually sitting there typing away. It’s like we’ve just seen her in a pair of jeans. We can’t quite believe our TV screens. Adverts essentially sell us the idea that the celebrity pushing their product is like us or, rather, we can be like them by using that same product. The Lady Gaga advert for Google Chrome is then a very special case because we can’t really be like her but we do love to love Lady Gaga or, at least, like to love her ­– it is my firm belief that those are the only two options when it comes to Gaga – so are bound to buy into the product anyway; if it’s good enough for Gaga to represent, it really is good enough.

The Chrome advert ­­­and the internet – along with all its social networks like Facebook and Twitter – have issued us with the illusion that Lady Gaga is a celebrity socially accessible to us. As lovely as it would be to believe that Gaga actually responds personally to our tweets or watches our YouTube videos singing covers of her songs with humming guitars and no clothes (her lyric, not mine), surely a touring superstar with millions of monster “followers” and “friends” just hasn’t got that kind of time. It’s a bit like Santa Claus. Though I do hope Gaga drops in on the internet from time to time via Google Chrome. It sure does make me feel a hell of a lot cooler using it.

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