Facebook’s First ad

It can be found here.

I don’t know anything about why they made it or what it’s trying to achieve, so I’ll just say what I think of it as a Facebook user and ad blogger.

I like the writing because it has an unusual rhythm for an ad. However, it’s also somewhat obvious and presents ideas you’ve probably already come across. The universe is vast and dark? We want to connect with people? No shit. So then I need a reason to care about Facebook, which I already use, and already know why I use it. It’s not because it’s like a chair or a bridge or a chipmunk’s balls, it’s because I can keep up-to-date with some of the things my friends are doing and play Wordscraper with my parents. The only people who need Facebook explained to them are the very small number of people who use the internet and don’t use FB. But I don’t think this ad will tip them over the edge into being users because it doesn’t particularly convey the FB experience of time wasting trivia.

On top of that I have written before about the strange prevalence of analogies in advertising but rarely have I seen the technique used quite so brazenly. Facebook is like a chair because…

Hang on. Facebook isn’t like a chair.

It says:

‘Chairs. Chairs are made so that people can sit down and take a break. Anyone can sit on a chair, and if the chair is large enough they can sit down together. And tell jokes or make up stories or just listen. Chairs are for people, and that is why chairs are like Facebook.’

That is bullshit. Facebook doesn’t allow you to sit down and take a break. It is the break. That’s like saying football is like a chair, or Eastenders is like a chair. This feels like a creative chucking out an idea before the other creative says, ‘Hey! Doesn’t work. Choose some other analogy so we can go to the pub’.

‘Doorbells, airplanes, bridges. These are things people use to get together so they can open up and connect about ideas and music and other things that people share.’

Yes, people do use those things to do that, but that’s not their only use and that’s not why they were invented. You could well add oxygen to that list, or food, or dogs.

‘Dancefloors, basketball.’

You see… anything, really. Including…

‘A great nation is something people build so they can have a place where they belong.’

Fucking hell. Is Facebook really likening itself to a great nation? And I’m about 99.9985678977% certain that’s not why a ‘great nation’ gets built. That happens through a process of struggle, violence, disagreement and greed and in the end the finished article always pisses off an enormous bunch of people. That sounds closer to Facebook, so they’re right about the comparison but they chose the wrong reasons.

This ad is obviously not an attempt to get non-Facebook users to use Facebook. If I were a betting man I’d guess it’s some sort of image building exercise intended to make people think the somewhat contentious social media site is nothing but a soft, warm duvet of goodness. It’s big and great and helps the world, and anyone who thinks it’s just for sharing funny videos of cats is seriously missing the point.



Maybe it’ll fool Facebook shareholders into forgetting how much cash they’ve lost, but I doubt it.