Facebook Goes Old-School With Metphor Ad

The best you can say about Facebook’s 90-second spot celebrating its 1-billionth user is that it’s early to marketing. The social service played it by the book with the video, deploying Wieden + Kennedy to do an arty metaphor-laden “film,” done by Babel director Alejandro Inarritu, that aims to pull at your heartstrings and slam home the notion that Facebook is uniting this empty universe.

The video starts off, incredibly, by comparing Facebook to a chair. This is a classic ad agency move to explain a product. Here’s the problem: everyone knows Facebook. The more modern approach would be to take a page out of the advertising that’s come out of Apple and Google. Both have leaned heavily on product demonstrations, telling a story not through metaphor but showing how these products can improve lives. Google’s “Parisian Love” Super Bowl spot was a classic in this genre. It’s continued this mash-up of product demo and heartwarming story with its Chrome ads, such as how a father uses Google products to calm his daughter who just left for college.

Early reaction to the Facebook ad is mixed. Jeff Bercovici terms it “truly weird.” And someone has already, of course, opened www.arechairslikefacebook.com. See the ad below and weigh in with your thoughts.