Pixel x Picture Progress

Google collaborated with New York Times Advertising to tackle the topic of image equity. We put the Pixel 6’s camera and Real Tone, which more accurately highlights nuances of diverse skin tones, in the hands of real photographers.

Sector: TechnologyBrand:Google


Despite decades of progress, many contemporary cameras inherited a major flaw from the analog era: image processing calibrated to lighter skin tones. This meant that darker skin tones often did not show as much detail as lighter ones. With a mission to build more equitable products, Google introduced Real Tone, which depicts darker skin tones more accurately and beautifully than ever.

Rather than launching an ad campaign ticking off product features and benefits, Google and EssenceMediacom wanted to use Pixel 6 to tell a story highlighting image equity through the lens of people and storytelling.


Google wanted a campaign that would open a dialogue around creating a more equitable and visually representative future in which technology improves our lives. The creative idea of Picture Progress centered around sparking dialogue around the role of image equity in today’s society.

Google needed collaborators with the history, credibility, and creativity to carry out the idea at scale, which led us to New York Times Advertising. After teaming up with T Brand Studio, the content studio of New York Times Advertising, we had to identify the faces of the campaign. To serve as the bridge from past to present, we turned to HIV/AIDS activist Phill Wilson, labor activist Dolores Huerta, and civil rights activist Ruby Bridges.

To show the path from present to future, we asked three BIPOC photographers to document their communities. New York Times photojournalists also independently used Pixel 6 phones in the creation of three pieces of visual journalism.

EssenceMediacom, along with Google’s other partners, built out a campaign across The Times’ print, digital, and audio ecosystem.


Following the campaign, the Pixel 6 exceeded sales targets and beat market-share goal at 2X year over year. It also saw the highest quarterly gain for Pixel loyalty of more than 12 points year over year vs. the fourth quarter of 2020, and achieved outsized share of media at 3X the previous year.