To celebrate Facebook reaching one billion users (Yeah, a billion. How many do you think a billion is? I thought it was a million millions but I looked it up and it’s actually only a thousand millions, so you know, not that impressive Facebook, whatevs) Mark Zuckerberg has released the first ever Facebook commercial. Aside from the fact that it seems kind of stupid for Facebook to release an advert (I mean sure not everyone is on Facebook, but it already has a BILLION users, I think it’s doing OK and it goes up by about 1000 users every second or something), Facebook and Zuckerberg managed to screw up by making the advert completely stupid and retarded.
Like, really retarded. If you could compare Facebook to one thing what would it be? Maybe prison? Or more seriously maybe Myspace or Friendster? Or more abstractly maybe a fan group of a band or football team or something? But really you can’t actually compare Facebook to anything because it’s its own thing. I mean you can compare it to other social networks but it has way surpassed every other social network in terms of reach and popularity and universal acceptance, to the point where it is its own entity and everybody knows what it is and you CAN’T really compare it to anything else.
So what does the ad agency that Facebook hired try to compare it with? A chair. Yeah, you got it, a chair. A fvcking chair. You’re probably wondering how Facebook is comparable to a chair and you’re probably not the only one. Thankfully the advert backs this up with an explanation:
‘“Chairs. They’re made so people can sit down and take a break. Anyone can sit on a chair and if the chair is a large enough they can sit down together and tell jokes or make up stories or just listen. Chairs are for people and that’s why chairs are like Facebook.”
That’s a lot clearer right? Yeah that’s what I thought, it completely doesn’t make sense. How many people ever sit on the same fvcking chair? Maybe if you’re with your girlfriend/boyfriend you might sit on each other’s laps on a chair but it’s pretty unlikely that anyone else is ever going to do that, even if they’ve been standing up all day or just ran a marathon or something. Like, one guy would probably take the chair and the other would sit on the floor or something.
Confusingly the advert then shows some pictures of couches with a couple of people sitting on them, but I would never call a couch a chair or a big chair, it’s a couch and the ad doesn’t mention couches. In any case, a chair or a couch is never going to be big enough to fit ONE BILLION people on it, which I guess what Facebook is trying to say here. Although I’m not really sure.
Maybe it’s trying to say that Facebook connects people like chairs do but I don’t really think it does at all because there’s always a limit on how many chairs can be in a specific area but there’s no limit with Facebook because it’s on the internet and has ONE BILLION people on it! Also, do chairs really connect people!? You’re normally sitting on a chair because you’re going to dinner with someone or getting coffee or going to a lecture or something, it’s not the ACTUAL CHAIR that is connecting you, and it’s not even really the TOOL that connects you which is what Facebook would be. It’s more like the practical apparatus you use to make said meetings easier. Or something.
The advert continues by comparing Facebook to other objects/things that don’t really make too much sense. Aeroplanes because you travel on them to connect with people. Do you ‘travel’ on Facebook to connect with people? Maybe, but not really. Bridges too, I guess you might cross a bridge to connect with someone but you don’t really think of it like that do you, you’re just like ‘yeah I’m driving to this place and here’s a bridge, whatever it’s just a bridge they happen all the time, cool view though’ you don’t think ‘man, I wouldn’t be able to connect with Mikey if it wasn’t for this bridge.’ I guess again the advert could be saying that Facebook is so ingrained in our consciousness that we don’t really think about it anymore – like bridges – but the voiceover isn’t saying that at all it’s just saying some crap about connecting people. Facebook should have hired me to deconstruct their advert and come up with better meanings for it.
But then the piece de resistance emerges as Facebook compares itself to doorbells. Doorbells!? Does anyone even think about doorbells ever? Sure you use them when you go to people’s houses but nobody ever has a conversation about them or thinks about them and how they help them to connect with people. They just get people to open the door. Doorbells is just really scraping the barrel Mark and is real stupid. A doorbell? Geez.
Granted the advert does get slightly better from there as it compares Facebook to dance floors (getting there with the connect business, because you know everybody loves going to the club and getting wasted and strutting their stuff on the dance floor then bumping into someone ‘by accident,’ sizing them up and grinding them for a bit before eating their face off/making a connection and then either dancing off to the next connection or taking them home and making a real connection), basketball (strange choice of sport but I can see it in that everyone loves going to the basketball game and it breaks down social barriers as everyone gets behind their team regardless of status) and ‘ a great nation’ (of course this nation is nameless but I can kinda get this analogy too as deep down everyone is kind of proud of their nation as this summer’s Olympics shown).
It then goes on to talk about the universe but I don’t think it’s comparing the universe with Facebook because the voiceover describes the universe as something like ‘vast, and dark and makes us wonder if we are alone’ and I doubt that is how Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be portrayed. Or maybe it is considering he’s allowed it to be compared to a bunch of bizarre objects like doorbells in the rest of the advert, maybe he is going for some kind of mystery David Lynch style kind of vibe.
It does lead the advert nicely to its conclusion though and that is that Facebook is there to remind you that ‘you’re not alone,’ which is a real nice sentiment sure. Only the point isn’t really driven home because the rest of the advert that has preceded it has been dogged with ridiculous analogies that wouldn’t even make sense in an advanced film studies class that was analysing old Jim Jarmusch movies.
In short, the whole advert completely misses the point of an advert and doesn’t really promote Facebook. Like I said earlier, I’m not sure if it really needs advertising, as it probably gets 1000 new signups a second or something, although if Mark Zuckerberg is serious about getting the other 7 billion people on the planet to sign up he could probably go about it in a way that doesn’t make Facebook sound like something completely weird and by comparing it to doorbells. I mean everyone has a doorbell why would they need another one? And nobody owns a bridge why would they want one of those? And all those mysterious metaphors are just going to confuse people, I don’t think the people that even wrote them understand them. It just make Facebook look like an unexplainable concept, which I guess it is but that isn’t going to attract people who have already distanced themselves from it is it, it’s just going to alienate them further.
The first Facebook advert was always going to garner a lot of attention and it seems like it’s completely dropped the ball. Big budget, bad ideas. Hopefully Facebook will lose some users after it and go under one billion viewers but I doubt it because nobody except mrwlf has the guts to deactivate their Facebook account. Check out her account of a Facebook Detox if you’re thinking about it after reading this.
I forgot to mention as well that the production on this advert is 10/10, it’s like that 30 Seconds To Mars video (which is awesome btw) or something, which only makes the content of it seem even more ridiculous/stupid. You can check out the Facebook advert below and I threw in the 30 Seconds To Mars video so you can see how this kind of stuff should really be done. Let us know what you think about this stupid advert too, although I’ve obviously done a fairly extensive job of deconstructing it.
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