facebook reaches one billion people – and celebrates with their first ad

branding agency working with digital

One Huge Step for Social Media Brands
After reaching its billionth user, facebook has released its first commercial ‘the things that connect us’. More of a brand clip than a traditional ad, what I find so interesting is the insight it provides us into how facebook sees themselves, or at least how they wish to be perceived.

Unlike most consumer brands of mass magnitude, facebook’s brand meaning has essentially evolved without a directed narrative from the business itself – a very unusual process. Most global brands are carefully manicured and managed, they are a combination of what we are told by them, what we observe of how they behave and what the opinions we form and share with our peers, family and friends.

Most brands spend most of their time focusing on the first element of this equation – seeking to influence us by telling us what they stand for through advertising, web sites, marketing, packaging, PR and other brand communication activities. I’m not convinced the facebook approach has necessarily been one driven by strategy from day-one, but it does give cause to pause and wonder; what if brands were to flip the equation to a focus on ‘doing’ rather than ‘saying’? What if brands let their actions do the speaking to a large degree, and let those touched by the thousands of brand gestures spread the word? Might his be more influential? It would certainly be more authentic.


The facebook brand ad has had close to a million views on youtube to-date. Not huge compared to the sky-high bar set by Psy with his Gangnam Style necessarily, but it wasn’t long ago that a million discerned views was considered a pretty good result for any piece of brand communication, on-par with a reasonably successful national TVC campaign in Australia. After reaching its record billionth user on september 14 they point out that there have been over 1.13 trillion likes, 140.3 billion friend connections and 219 billion photos uploaded since the launch of their service in February 2009.

facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says:
“Celebrating a billion people is very special to me. it’s a moment to honor the people we serve. For the first time in our history, we’ve made a brand video to express what our place is on this earth. We believe that the need to open up and connect is what makes us human. it’s what brings us together. It’s what brings meaning to our lives.
facebook isn’t the first thing people have made to help us connect. We belong to a rich tradition of people making things that bring us together. Today, we honor this tradition. We honor the humanity of the people we serve. we honor the everyday things
people have always made to bring us together: chairs, doorbells, airplanes, bridges, games. these are all things that connect us. And now facebook is a part of this tradition of things that connect us too. I hope you enjoy this video as much as we do. thanks for helping connect a billion people.”

The facebook brand ad was created by the talented folk at  Wieden + Kennedy Portland and directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.

Dave Ansett
Chief Cre­ator of Brands

For monthly updates of our think­ing, click here to receive our free Brand Newsletter

1 Comment

Post a comment

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,