Well it’s certainly aiming high. Facebook, it says, is a way of bringing people together, something to hang on to in a tough world and an even more threatening universe (cut to threatening universe, which you don’t often see in ads). One of the “things that connect us.”
Films/ads (which is it?) always take the risk of falling flat on their face when they aim for the stars and when this one starts with chairs you do rather think, here they go. But Wieden+Kennedy Portland is becoming rather good at this: putting some gas in the tank of Detroit for Chrysler with Eminem and Clint Eastwood, signing up ‘moms’ for Procter & Gamble’s Olympics sponsorship and exploring the rust belt in the USA for Levi’s.
Actually the latter is so gloomy it backfires a bit but Levi’s then marketing director Rebecca Van Dyck was obviously pleased enough with it to sign W+K as Facebook’s first ad agency.
The film is surprisingly American though, referring to ‘this great nation’ as one of the things that ties people together, but that only works if you’re American of course. Many other people around the world (the Middle East for example) are united only in their disapproval of the land of the free.
Will it do the job for Facebook? Well it depends what the job is. It obviously won’t mollify those people who bought shares in Facebook’s IPO and now find they’ve lost half their money. It doesn’t deal with privacy issues. But it does make a pretty good case for social media, they are a way of connecting people on, more or less, their own terms. And with all the talk of money and Facebook that’s not a bad message to send out as you celebrate your billionth user (it’s probably a billion and five by now).
It’s not bad for W+K either. If it wants to show it can make a film for anyone, not necessarily an ad for advertisers, it’s succeeded.