Facebook’s recently released official video, ‘Things that connect’, has been generating quite a lot of buzz. The video is aimed at non Facebook users, establishing for them the bond or ‘connection’ that Facebook helps create amongst people.
Executed by Wieden+Kennedy and directed by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, the advertisement celebrates the one-billion mark that the website crossed. It may be noted that this is Facebook’s first marketing push.
Celebrating a billion people is very special to me. It's a moment to honour the people we serve,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg in a post on his official Facebook page.
There are three aspects about the Facebook commercial that stand out clearly – Facebook is aware of increasing competition, the fact there have been too many controversies on its IPO and things such as fake ‘Likes’, which had become currency for the social networking platform and finally, the continual comment that people switch off or fall out of Facebook after a while, leading to large numbers of inactive users.
“With every product/ service there might arise a marketing need to reach out to new users. I would assume Facebook does not want to be sitting ducks and wait for an all new product or service to wipe it away,” said Chayya Balachandran Aiyer, CEO, BC Webwise.
According to Aiyer, some of the famous websites such as Orkut, Myspace, and Foursquare were hot, but languished due to lack in direction, making ‘The Connect’ an even bigger concern.
Facebook's Consumer Marketing Head Rebecca Van Dyck has been reported on CNN’s online edition saying that this ad very clearly targets non-users of Facebook even as it speaks to its existing users. The video tries to create an emotional bond with the audience by banking on the third generation problem of lack of interaction with loved ones. From chairs to the universe, the video speaks about a lot of things that affect a person’s life. However, whether it manages to convey the message is a million dollar question.
“Honestly, I do not understand what they want to achieve through the video. They are saying what I already know. It does not exhibit its message in a manner that would make me look at Facebook differently or make me smile,” said Mahesh Chauhan, Co-Founder, Salt Brand Solutions.
Chauhan is of the view that Facebook lost its opportunity of giving out the right message. For a brand as large as Facebook, it should be at a higher level than this.
The Facebook commercial has not clicked with a lot of people. Twitter saw ‘The Facebook Commercial Is All Kinds of Wrong’ trending on the basis of an article on Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff.
While the video has had its own share of likes and dislikes so far, experts say that the video is lot more than a commercial ad trying to engage with the target audience.
“Let’s not forget that Facebook is also amongst the leading platforms for video consumption. So again, I see no harm in launching a video on its own platform. Also, I would not like to brand this attempt as a ‘commercial’ video. Look at it as content. Some like it. Some don’t,” said Vineet Gupta, Managing Partner, 22Feet.
According to Gupta, the commercial is not a traditional campaign but content produced by Facebook to promote the website among users and non-users. The video is launched on Facebook and not across other digital platforms, thus, the video is the website’s content, which some find appealing and some do not.
No matter what kind of responses the advertisement has garnered so far, it is a very important step not only for Facebook’s path but also in the journey of social networking. ‘Things that connect’ may or may not connect with the audience, but has managed to create a stir across all digital platforms globally.