Facebook has inspired and made possible all manner of compelling campaigns before, and will no doubt continue doing so. Unfortunately, the social media giant hasn’t fared as well when promoting itself.
First there was an online ad back in February promoting Pages, which suffered from some questionable similarities to a recent Google ad. The company’s latest effort—its first major marketing push, timed to coincide with the ballyhooed billion-user milestone—is beautiful to look at, but it suffers from simultaneously overreaching and oversimplifying. It’s one of those great-sprawling-mess-of-humanity ads that play up interconnectivity, and yet it also includes the phrase "Chairs are like Facebook," which is not destined to be taken at face value.
Created by agency Wieden + Kennedy Portland, the new spot opens with a 40-second homage to chairs, a ubiquitous utility. The team probably thought we as a people had gotten far enough away from the Republican National Convention’s notorious Eastwooding debacle to roll out a chair-centric ad without forcing the association. They miscalculated.
Helmed by Academy Award-nominated director Alejandro González Iñárritu, the ad does indeed move on to other objects that bind people together, and photographs them in lush tones. After naming how bridges, doorbells, airplanes and other inanimate things are like Facebook, however, the ad commits one final offense, one that defines it. "The universe is vast and dark and makes us wonder if we’re alone," a voiceover offers. Since every other object mentioned was an intentional comparison, we’re inevitably set up to complete this thought: "… just like Facebook."