Facebook Hits 1 Billion Users: But does their new commercial make sense to everyone?

(and then there’s Lady Gaga…)

– By Louise Raffa

Last week was a big one in social media land.

But today’s post is really about the ad that Facebook made in celebration of that milestone.  Is it weird or is it great?

From a marketing and brand building perspective, we always talk about messaging.  This is the foundation of a great marketing campaign, where it all starts, the mothership.  The messaging HAS to be right.  It has to make sense, be accurate, be relevant, be timely, and most of all it HAS to connect (or to use a popular term ‘resonate’) with your audience.  Say you’re the audience that Facebook is trying to reach (and you are). All this really means is Do you get it?  And Does it mean something to you? And the biggest question of all from the company’s perspective, How does this affect your perception of the brand?

The ad talks about the things that connect us and says Facebook is like a chair.  That’s right.  Ok, more accurately, an empty chair is a metaphor for what Facebook is for us.  According to the ad, Facebook is also like airplanes, bridges and doorbells.  Yes, doorbells.

Did Facebook, and the clever team at Wieden + Kennedy get the messaging right?

There’s lots to love about the Facebook commercial:

  • The beautiful production quality.  First rate.  Those guys at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland really know what they’re doing.  Plus, like lots of other people I’m a sucker for great visuals and soaring violins.
  • A chair is a humble, everyday thing.  That was kind of a nice choice.  However, I’m pretty sure there were loads and loads of discussions with a bunch of really smart people about choosing the one thing that fits that bill and doesn’t present Facebook as the behemoth that it really is.
  • I’m just going to say this, I like the sincerity.  The big ideas, the common threads. Over here, we’re not really into the culture of snark.

But the question is this.  Are these metaphors for what Facebook is for all of us – chairs, dancefloors, basketball – are they too obscure?  Too clever for their own good?  Just lame analogies?  Do people get this at all?

Our informal poll suggests a collective head scratch and overall ‘huh?’  (And I mean really informal but hey, we’re on deadline.  The Fedex delivery guy had lots of smart insights to share, but our favourite Starbucks barista gave us little more than the old hand wave…)

Weigh in with your comments both for and against.  Sit in a chair while you do it. And may the Facebook be with you.

In the meantime, we’re waiting here for the parody video to come out.  You know it’s going to happen, this video is crying out for it.  Who’s going to be first?

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4 thoughts on “Facebook Hits 1 Billion Users: But does their new commercial make sense to everyone?

  1. Farouk says:

    I think they should have just stopped at “Chairs.” I got disinterested and lost when they started throwing out words like “Basketball” and “Bridges.” I mean, I’m sure ANY company can link themselves to random words if they really tried.

  2. Phoebe Yong says:

    What is it about “the Chair” these days? It got big play with Clint at the RNC convention and now with Mr. Zuckerberg? What’s next “Chair of the Year”? Jesus, Louise. No pun intended, Louise. 🙂
    Personally, I go the chair part but got lost when the planes, trains, and automobiles kicked in, and especially that universe… but then again, I get lost quite easily.

  3. Louise Raffa says:

    Are you sitting down? 😉 Since posting on Youtube 6 days ago, the video’s had 1,125,114 views. Maybe someone knows what they’re doing over there.

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