Nickelback has created a parody version of its own song “Photograph” for a new Google Photos ad, and it’s a lot more entertaining than you might suspect. In the ad, Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger mercilessly makes fun of himself, fully leaning into the “Photograph” meme and its usefulness in explaining all sorts of graphs and in illustrating framed copies of other memes, as Kroeger instructs viewers to “look at them” in his unmistakable, raspy voice.
The ad’s lyrics and photos touch on Kroeger’s “noodle hair” and his passion for photographing dessert. That it manages to both be a nice example of Google Photos’ features and a cute use of the old meme makes it worth a watch.
“Photograph” is 15 years old, and the meme connected to it has been around for at least five, so seeing the ad is bound to spark some memories, which is exactly Google’s intention. While it’s not quite an original idea for an ad, Google gets a pat on the head for being aware of the joke. Nickelback also wrote the new lyrics for the parody version, according to an email Google sent to The Verge, so the band’s having some fun too.
Viral videos cemented Nickelback’s status as a meme, but here at The Verge, “Nickel-rolling” is what first comes to mind when we think of the band. Nickel-rolling is the unfortunate practice of trolling people with songs, lyrics, and images from the band Nickelback, like a Rickroll for the Nickelback generation.
The band has been the butt of jokes in the past, but if I’m honest, “Photograph” is a catchy song — good luck getting it out of your head if you watch the whole Google Photos ad. I think a lot of the ironic hate towards Nickelback is fading — I know it is for me. When we discussed the new ad, Verge editor Nick Statt summed up the phenomenon well:
I feel like every thing the internet hates eventually becomes endearing, because the curve of internet culture bends toward “not being a jerk” as everyone just grows up.
Whether someone at Google is admitting to being a Nickelback fan or simply reviving an old joke, some levity might be necessary given Google’s new storage policy in Photos. The company announced it will end its unlimited storage offer for “high quality” photos after June 1st, 2021. If you want to store more than 15GB after that cut-off, you’ll have to subscribe to Google One. Yes, Google would like you to look at your photographs, and it fully expects you to pay for the privilege of storing them.