Facebook posted its first ad this morning, depicting, among other things, chairs, airplanes and bridges – in short, the things that connect us. The minute-and-a-half long spot, produced by Wieden+Kennedy, places gentle violin strings over images that are both urban and rural, developed and developing, young and old – all of them rather banal.
The ad is unquestionably generic – images of young lovers lying in wet grass, white jet stream curling behind a moving airplane, a shaky rope bridge across a deep ravine – all seemingly stock photos lifted from a National Geographic spread on, say, couples who lie in the grass watching airplanes fly over a ravine. One half expects to see a shutterstock.com watermark over the images.
And yet, the recycled nature of this content seems reflective of Facebook’s whole operational dynamic; it is an entity constructed largely of users’ content – of their relationship statuses, their travels, their challenges – intended to connect one another. Without the intimate details of 1 billion users lives, Facebook would be running on air, a platform devoted to Farmville and Viddy and little else. Much like the ad, Facebook itself depends upon the content of others.
And so, in a sense, the ad is accurate. No one is surprised that, like bridges, Facebook connects people. But perhaps the ad, with its stirring, yet overly general imagery, more effectively connotes the social network’s dependence upon our own connections for its next billion users.
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