On Thursday, just as Facebook announced its one billionth user, the social networking behemoth released its very first advertisement -- and it's quite, shall we say, ambitious.
The short video, made by Wieden & Kennedy (of Nike advertising fame), is an attempt at revealing the human face of social networking and the importance Facebook can play in fostering and strengthening human connections.
After watching the spot, which somehow connects the vastness of the universe to sharing links and photos, you get the sense that the social network wanted to go deep. Facebook isn't just a website, it's part of some greater human desire, the ad claims.
"We make the tools and services that allow people to feel human, get together, open up. Even if it's a small gesture, or a grand notion -- we wanted to express that huge range of connectivity and how we interact with each other," Rebecca Van Dyck, Facebook's head of consumer marketing said of the concept behind the ad.
The social networking giant tried to get the lofty message across by using the rather Clint Eastwood-esque symbol of a chair. (The comparison to the now-infamous RNC chair speech is so striking, in fact, that @Facebookschair has already appeared on Twitter.)
But for all its attempts at poignancy and abstract symbolism, it appears Facebook's new ad is not sitting terribly well with critics in the media.
"Facebook's first ad is Facebook's worst ad," declares Gizmodo's Sam Biddle, who describes the short as the "dumbest video we've seen in a while."
Referencing the symbol of a chair that plays a central role in the ad, Biddle continues with this rather baffling metaphor:
"Facebook is a chair, loved by one billion people, and this ad is confusing and stupid, like a chair made out of spiders and chicken tenders."
Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield concurs.
But it seems that Facebook needn't worry quite yet about this ad's potential of attracting new users.
As AllThingsD.com notes, Facebook reps say that for the time being, the ad will only be shown on Facebook.com.
"Which would make sense: Why spend a bunch of money on a nice ad like this if you’re not going to show it to people who aren’t already using your product? Then again, as Facebook announced this morning, it has a billion active users. So, if you’re not using Facebook now, that must mean you really don’t want to use Facebook -- not that you’re not familiar with it," notes the tech website.
Eventually, however, the ad may make its way on to other websites and to television.
Inspiring, presumptuous or outrageously awful? Tell us what you think of the ad in the comments below.
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