Facebook's bizarre new TV ad

The social network is trying to make a statement about connections, the universe, doorbells -- and chairs.

By Kim Peterson Oct 4, 2012 3:04PM
Facebook (FB) created its first-ever TV commercial to commemorate hitting 1 billion users -- and it makes no sense.

The message is that chairs are like Facebook. Because chairs are for people to sit on and talk and listen. And people sit on Facebook and talk and listen, I guess? Facebook is also like doorbells and airplanes somehow.

The 90-second ad shows various images of people connecting. Reaching out to each other. Playing together. Bonding. And yet not a single one is using Facebook. What this video actually tells me is that we spend too much time on the darn computer and not enough connecting in real life.

Business Insider transcribed the commercial. Here's the text:
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.

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.

Dance floors. Basketball. A great nation. A great nation is something people build so they can have a place where they belong.

The Universe. It is vast and dark. And it makes us wonder if we are alone. So maybe the reason we make all of these things is to remind us that we are not.

OK, so maybe it's supposed to be one of those mind-boggling arty things that make you think deep thoughts. Business Insider covers all the racial stereotypes in the ad.

And of course, it didn't take long for someone to create the @Facebookschair Twitter account.
"Anyone know the phone number for Clint's debate opponent?" the chair wrote. "I'd love to share stories."

Here's some of the reaction to the spot:

"An empty chair, a loner. It fits only one, not a community. I would have thought a sofa would be a better depiction. I'd flush this commercial." -- Business Insider commenter

"Facebook executives want you to think of their company -- which is, of course, just an immensely successful social networking website, and not the first -- as something utterly basic and necessary to your life, something you take for granted, and, crucially, use to do other things (like work, for instance)." -- Slate's David Haglund

"Facebook is a chair, loved by one billion people, and this ad is confusing and stupid, like a chair made out of spiders and chicken tenders." -- Gizmodo's Sam Biddle

"What we're trying to articulate is that we as humans exist to connect, and we at Facebook to facilitate and enable that process," Rebecca Van Dyck, Facebook's head of consumer marketing, in Advertising Age.

"The deepness doesn't come off as heartfelt, but just kind of silly," -- Rebecca Greenfield in The Atlantic Wire.

"Truly weird." -- Forbes

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Tags: FB
12Comments
Oct 4, 2012 4:34PM
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This commercial is supposed to make me sign up to Facebook? Not happening.
Oct 4, 2012 6:36PM
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Hmmm. Let's see. This FB ad is really quite self-important and greatly overstating its own relevance to the world. With that said, a typical advertisement that strives to express necessity when no actual evidence for such exists. To add, the pictures, music and voiceover are quite boring as well. The Universe...really?
Oct 5, 2012 9:43AM
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Funerals , car wrecks , traffic jams, criminal court, emergency rooms.

Gee these bring people together too!!

Oct 8, 2012 10:51AM
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The canary in this coal mine is that a company trying to sell itself as a NEW reach media has to resort to OLD media to get its message across.

Advertisers why would you advertise on FB when they advertise on TV?

Somewhere deep in it's bowels FB is haemorrhaging and the stockholders will be left holding the bag while the founders slowly take all the money out of the back door. Kinda like Pesci, Liotta and DeNiro with their restaurants in Goodfellows !
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It calls out a "great Nation".  Then I see it was a different nation than what I expected an American company would have.
Oct 4, 2012 4:34PM
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It was a pretty good commercial. I don't use facebook but the commercial makes it sound better than it is. But don't mind me I don't like phones either.
Oct 4, 2012 8:07PM
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It's a well made commercial that get it's point across and these typical idiot writers at MSN seem to figure out a way to show confusion and disdain for an innovative company. Too bad Microsoft couldn't figure this one out.
Oct 4, 2012 4:43PM
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ohhh, guess what? It seems like the commercial has done exactly what its supposed to do, get people talking about it, good or bad, it worked. The Slate, Gizmodo, Ad Age, Atlantic Wire, Forbes... they are all talking :)
Oct 4, 2012 3:58PM
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I found the Facebook commercial intellectually stimulating, not bizarre as the writer has indicated.

Oct 4, 2012 4:09PM
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Me too, I LOVE IT!
I'll never sell my FB stock.
Oct 4, 2012 4:17PM
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Great commercial. Obviously the writer of this article has no marketing expertise. Or imagination for that matter.

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