What’s the point of Facebook’s ad campaign?

This week I was left bemused by Facebook's TV and poster advertising campaign. I first spotted it from the moving walkway on the Jubilee underground line, where the online brand had splashed out and bought a set of 20 or so massive posters. I then saw the TV campaign over the weekend.


1. What's the point?

I struggle to see what Facebook is trying to do with this communication campaign. I guess most people have heard of Facebook, so the objective is unlikely to be awareness building. Also, unlike the online insurance comparison websites (Go Compare, Money Supermarket) they are not fighting for share of market, being the dominant social media portal.

2. What's the message?

The poster campaign is vague. No strapline to get across a message. No brand name, just the logo. And the visuals showing generic images of people together. The TV is not much clearer. It's an anthem to celebrating friends in general and how they help us in life, rather than anything about Facebook the brand. Not only is there no product "sausage", there isn't even any emotional sizzle linked to the brand.

3. What's the truth?

My biggest gripe with the campaign though is the total, utter lack of brand truth. This campaign is a romantic celebration of real-life, human connection without a smartphone or laptop in sight. The utter hypocrisy of this was seen straight through by Calum, the 12 year old son of my mate Jason, who said:  "Facebook actually stops people being real friends as it makes you spend too more time online". And what Calum thinks is relevant, as he's the sort of person I assume Facebook wants to recruit.

Here is one take on how Facebook has actually de-valued the whole meaning of the word "friend": Facebook has diluted the real meaning of “friend.” While I may have over 2,000 “friends” on Facebook, I talk to maybe 20 on a fairly regular basis. “Friend” has been transformed from someone whom a person has a fulfilling relationship with into someone who lurks in the background of life, occasionally liking pictures or statuses and wishes them a “happy birthday!” when prompted to by a website.

Net, this is a campaign which seems to me to lack a clear objective, lack a clear message and, worse of all, is not based on a brand truth.