Facebook’s first ever commercial and that looks all kind of wrong. It was created to celebrate the social media platform’s 1 billion active monthly users and what’s take-away is an empty chair.
The whole theme of the commercial has unmistakable semblance with IBM’s “I am an IBMer” advertisement. No doubt IBM is an inspiration to Facebook, but the advertisement seems like a “bend over backwards” approach towards the other giant.
This advertisement also reminds us of Clint Eastwood. But Eastwood’s ad made him a legend. He was the voice behind Chrysler’s “It’s Half time in America” Super Bowl spot that was so stirring, people actually thought it to be a political ad. As we know now, it wasn’t. But it effectively drove the message home, and until, Eastwood talked to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, it made him the coolest octogenarian on the planet.
Similar to the Eastwood ad, the Facebook’s spot features a heartfelt, though anonymous voiceover and some mournful music and also chairs, a lot of them. Apparently, the chairs symbolize what Facebook means to us. From the voiceover,
“Chairs. They’re made so people can sit down and take a break. Anyone can sit on a chair and the chair is large enough, they can sit down together and tell jokes or make up storied or just listen. Chairs are for people and that’s why chairs are like Facebook.”
When you read it and see it on a page, it sounds ridiculous. Of course chairs are for people. People invented them. And what in the world are big chairs? Weren’t they called couches till recent times?
The ad tries to drive home the concept with a series of images of chairs, many chairs.
Facebook is also like:
All of them are described as things we used to get together. “Airplanes” and “Bridges” are understandable, but “doorbells”, really?
Facebook is also like dance floors and basketball. We guess, we can buy that, a little. These are gathering places, though most of us who are busy working, raising families and doing billion other things are unlikely to hit the dance floor anytime soon. That is why, we use Facebook. You can use it without having to go to someplace else like a dance floor or a stadium. Just pick up your smartphone and you are good.
We think Facebook has got the right, when it compares the social network to a great nation. It’s now big enough to be many great nations. So, no objection on that part.
Now, the plot thickens. Facebook takes a sudden turn towards the universe, and it’s no longer comparing the services. We haven’t discovered the reason behind this yet, but what we think is Zuckerberg wants us to think of Facebook as “vast, dark” and make us wonder if we are alone.
What it actually means is Facebook is there and the ad says, to remind us that we are not alone. That’s clearly the spot’s best line and this coda fails miserably. Here’s why:
The preceding minute and ten seconds are spent confusing us with lamest analogies.
The evocative and elegiac video doesn’t show a single computer, In fact, the only visible technologies in the whole spot are flat screen display over a lecture hall, the basketball court scoreboard and 1950s telephone. No tablets, no smartphones, no HD TVs, no computers, nothing. This is definitely not the ad that tells people why Facebook is so wonderful and important to a billion people out there.
This whole ad left us a bit underwhelmed. Remember the movie, “The Social Network”, the enigmatic and unyielding Zuckerberg, wouldn’t it be better to capture the Facebook from there, raw, unrefined?
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