Monday, November 5, 2012

Facebook is like what?: Letting Your Brand Speak For Itself

Watch the video before continuing if you have yet to see Facebook's "Things That Connect Us" commercial. 

Yes, it's okay to laugh.

Facebook released this ad, their first real commercial ever, after they reached a billion users. A billion users, that's great, that's something I'm sure no one ever thought could happen even a few years ago. MySpace only ever surpassed 100 million at the height of its popularity.

Facebook obviously wanted to do something to celebrate this monumental occasion. But did it have to be this?

Suffice to say, reaction has been negative for the most part and numerous ridicule sites have already been born:

The Tumblr account:

And you'll find endless parodies of the commercial on YouTube (search it).

The big question here is: Did Facebook really need a commercial?

Based on this commercial, we'd say "No". The problem here was that Facebook didn't let the brand speak for itself. Facebook has a strong brand and people know what it's there for. They don't need a somewhat (let's be honest) pretentious and self-important commercial to tell them what Facebook does and why it's important. If they had just shown someone reconnecting with a friend they hadn't seen since high school or sharing wedding photos, then you might have a good commercial. It's like what Google does with every one of it's ads. It doesn't say: "Google is Everything in the World." At it's core, Google just says, "You can search, email stuff, chat, and get creative with how you do those things."

Every great brand does not give the impression that it's bigger than it is: Coke is refreshing, Nike is physical fitness, Apple is casual and cool, the list goes on.

At the end of the day, if you have a brand that you're confident in, you can't beat people over the head with that confidence. You have to find a way to let the brand speak for itself. In the Chairs commercial, did we even once see a Facebook timeline or the website at all? Did we see what Facebook's actual usefulness in our world is? Did we seriously just get told that Facebook is like doorbells (yeah, doorbells).

Bottom line, if you like your brand and you like what it says, let it talk. It probably has a strong enough voice on its own.

Let us know your thoughts: Did Facebook hit or miss the target? Did they even need a commercial at all?