Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chairs Are Not Like Facebook

Thanks, Facebook, for starting my day off with a laugh. As Gizmodo’s Sam Biddle wrote, Facebook hit 1,000,000,000 users and what better way to celebrate than with the social network’s first ever advertisement. Now, I didn’t laugh at this video ad because it’s meant to be funny, I giggled because of all the things they could have compared themselves to, they chose a chair. You read that correctly – a chair. The idea behind it is that Facebook connects us all, and all of us sit on chairs. I’m sitting on an office chair as I write this post, maybe you’re sitting on a chair reading this and kids across the globe may be sitting on chairs in classrooms. Makes a bit more sense now, but they actually spelled out for you  that, “Chairs are like Facebook.”  What a terrible analogy.
I get it – chairs are universal, we all sit on them. Facebook is trying to compare itself to something that is used every day by literally everyone. The title of the video is actually, “Things That Connect.” But I’m sorry, Facebook does not equal chairs. We all have access to chairs, whether it’s in the form of a tree stump that a kid in Africa sits on or your dad’s recliner. Not everyone has access to connect on Facebook, not everyone even has Internet access or a computer. If they were going for buzz, they go it. But were they really expecting this to be a success? Did Zuckerberg watch this video and say, “Yes, chairs are like Facebook, this makes total sense.” It’s meant to be one of those videos that makes you think about the bigger global picture and gets a bit emotional. Maybe if the whole video was focused on the second half of the ad that talks about how people are connecting, it would have had that effect. Unfortunately, I don’t have any emotional connection to chairs. I also think the narrative could have been better, a little less obvious. It really spells it out for you and tells you what’s happening instead of showing you in the ad and letting your come to the conclusion on your own.
Don’t get me started that I think a Facebook ad was completely unnecessary because of all the free publicity they get with every journalist writing on it and almost every small, medium and large business telling consumers to go “Like” their brands on Facebook. Perhaps Facebook should spend a little more time focusing on how to get brands to advertise on Facebook, and less time comparing themselves to boring things like chairs. That’s just my humble opinion, what did you think?
As we tell our clients every day, you need to resonate and connect with your audience. Facebook missed the mark on this ad. As much as I was annoyed with the chair analogy, I can only think about how many times a  day I access Facebook via my mobile device or a laptop where I may be sitting on the couch or a chair. It’s the same as when people shout out and claim “this is the best thing since sliced bread”—you’re missing the connection to your audience and importance of your brand.
Should they have made an ad in the first place? And was comparing the network to chairs a clever analogy or a failed marketing tagline? Check it out here, and let me know your thoughts.
A version of this post originally appeared on prSPEAK, a blog from PAN Communications. 

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