Re-educating Google


Agency: Mermaids

A transgender child is twice as likely to contemplate suicide if their parents don't accept them when they come out. But most parents aren't equipped to handle this life-changing moment, so they turn to Google for advice - where the algorithm serves up inaccurate, transphobic content.

So, Mermaids found a way to turn Google from a hateful place to a helpful place. Searching obvious terms like 'transgender' brings up misleading, transphobic content. But by analysing search data we identified a set of unexpected terms and behaviour patterns that parents Googled before the obvious ones. Then we used those terms to tag content filled with life-saving advice that we created ourselves. Which meant we intercepted parents before their journeys led to hateful results.

During the campaign Mermaids ranked higher than the NHS for the search-phrase: how do I support my transgender child? And our films received 6,057 organic views - the equivalent of reaching our entire audience 16 times over, or giving 400 hours of life-saving advice. But most importantly, now when parents search for help, Google responds differently.