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25 Years in Search

Finalist in Long Form Video, Brand Awareness Campaign, Multi-Platform Campaign, Insights & Trends


Google's annual Year in Search reflects on the year’s biggest trends and moments. In 2023, Google Search turned 25. We wanted to mark the occasion by celebrating our users and what they love most. So we created our most epic Year in Search to date – taking people back in time to relive top trending moments from the past quarter century and activating fandoms all over the world, from Spongebob stans to the BTS army.

Our goal was to drive a deeper emotional connection with users around the globe — especially Gen Z, who have grown up with us — by making Year in Search unmissable across Google's most visible channels. We designed an epic film and paired it with bespoke social activations for the most searched icons of the last 25 years, while providing users with opportunities to participate in the celebration along the way.


We started with the data. We sorted and ranked trillions of searches from a quarter century of search data in every language to uncover a list of the most searched people, figures and movements from around the world across a wide variety of categories, from arts and music to sports and world history.

Our long-form film formed the bedrock of the campaign, bringing all of these data points together in a truly global story, 25 years in the making. Culminating with a broadcast spot on New Years Eve, we celebrated 25 years’ worth of progress, spanning iconic figures, influential subcultures, and historic moments that moved us all. Creating this film meant crafting a cohesive, emotional narrative out of a quarter century’s worth of data and events, and striking a balance between celebrating iconic figures and everyday people.

On social, we harnessed the power of passionate fandoms by creating short films and content fueled by what millions of people searched for most - from pizza to BTS to Cristiano Ronaldo and more. One of the biggest challenges was identifying the most passionate fandoms and ensuring the creative authentically represented the vernacular, aesthetics, and lore of each following (i.e., Beyhive vibes are super different than Swifties). Through a combination of social listening, custom community management and collab posts, we were able to connect with these groups authentically. 

In addition, we created a custom Google Doodle that led users to The Most Searched Playground: an interactive scavenger hunt where people could seek and find 25 of the most searched things as well as discover secret surprises. One of those secret surprises was a hidden Taylor Swift-centric treasure hunt, designed specifically for a fandom obsessed with cryptic puzzles and easter eggs.

Overall, we used data to spotlight a variety of stories and moments from the last quarter century, from the everyday to the epic, while striking the right balance between celebrating the icons themselves and the fans who they inspired. and ensuring that everyone could see themselves in Google’s 25th anniversary celebration.


Year in Search 2023 was a conversation starter. The campaign organically trended on X, became the most-talked about Google brand campaign ever (even when benchmarked against major company moments), and drove 4.4X more social conversation vs. other branded end-of-year campaigns, on average.

Our Cristiano Ronaldo Instagram Collab post was the most liked post in Google history, while cryptic Taylor Swift easter egg posts on IG and X garnered 1.3M likes and 600K views, respectively — and sparked numerous viral user-generated posts, leading to millions of additional views. This also triggered a wave of Search interest, as “taylor swift google year in search” became a top 5 search worldwide the day the posts dropped (Dec 13th).


Video for 25 Years in Search

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