“Chairs Are Like Facebook” #fail Wieden & Kennedy Ad for FB to honor users

Thursday, 4 October, 2012

"Chairs Are Like Facebook" #fail Wieden & Kennedy Ad for FB to honor users

Wieden & Kennedy is a great Ad company that bought us the exceptionally cool “Old Spice Man campaign” in 2010 but its lastest “Chairs Are Like Facebook” Ad to celebrate it had reached its billion-user milestone has left this reporter and many people scratching our collective heads. To many people, Facebook is a Lovemark to them but this ad isn’t one fit for a Lovemark.

Rebecca Van Dyck (FB), former exec for Apple and Levi’s and hired by Facebook in Feb 2012 as its head of consumer marketing, told AdAge, (emphasis added)

What we’re trying to articulate is that we as humans exist to connect, and we at Facebook to facilitate and enable that process.” “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.

Ms Van Dyck continued, (emphasis added)

We started thinking about this a year ago and approached Wieden & Kennedy to help us craft a message that articulated our values and who we are. It wasn’t until recently that we realized we were close to reaching 1 billion, and we thought what an amazing way to honor our users, to create this piece for them.

For an ad that aspires to articulate “our values and who we are“, the least it should is to touch us emotionally, be meaningful, and may be have it stand the test of time. I’ve watched the Ad quite a few times now to make sure my comments express my feelings fairly. And I’ve also transcribed the words from the voiceover of “Chairs Are Like Facebook” so I can read it in full and you can see for yourself.

[red wood chair suspending in mid-air in a forest]

Chairs. Chairs are made so that people can sit down and take a break.

Anyone can sit on a chair and if the chair is a large enough they can sit down together and tell jokes or make up stories or just listen.

Chairs are for people and that’s why chairs are like Facebook.

Doorbells. Airplanes. Bridges. These are things people used to get together. So they can open up and connect about ideas and music.

Another things people share: Dance Floors. Basketball. A Great Nation.

A Great Nation is something people build so they can have a place where they belong.

The Universe. It is vast and dark. And makes us wonder if we are alone. So may be the reason we make all of these things is to remind ourselves that we are not.

in white appears on a black screen.

Reading the about FaceBook Ad copy, it just seems, to me, totally disposable and ready to be thrown away next week/month and ready to be replaced by something flashy, different and new. In stark contrast, Apple’s timeless “Think Different” Ad campaign is so impressive a copy that I’ve personally heard it read out loud in wedding ceremony! Yes, people love it that much! As this reporter wrote in 2011 when the Steve Jobs biography was published, the voice (someone has to read the copy) of the voice over deserves tremendous attention! And I don’t know what happened in the Facebook voice over casting?! Anyway, here is what Steve Jobs went through in his struggle to decide whose voice to use.

Jobs couldn’t decide whether to use the version with his voice or to stick with Dreyfuss. […] When morning came, Jobs called and told them to use the Dreyfuss version. “If we use my voice, when people find out they will say it’s about me,” he told Clow. “It’s not. It’s about Apple.”

Have a listen and watch of the following two versions of “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” videos.

Steve Jobs narrates The Crazy Ones (video, not often heard)

Richard Dreyfuss narrates The Crazy Ones (video, this is the official one many people have seen)

(note: By the way, I totally agree with Steve’s decision and rationale here.)

To this reporter, the normally cool Wieden & Kennedy has a big #fail in “Chairs Are Like Facebook” Ad. What do you think?

Cross posted by me at examiner.com


Malcolm Gladwell in conversation with CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel at Toronto Public Library (May 2012) and more …

Sunday, 15 July, 2012

Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of Blink and Outliers celebrates 50 years of Jamaica’s independence. In conversation with CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel. Malcolm Gladwell’s books including his latest, Blink are available at Toronto Public Library.”

Pay special attention to Part 3 where Malcolm gives insightful (and some may argue harsh) assessment of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Update: Bonus Malcolm clips. I found the following clips and I thought I might as well include them here.


McDonald’s Big Mac Commercial 1984 – Cantonese trumped English campaign

Thursday, 28 June, 2012

1984 McDonald's Big Mac Commercial - Cantonese Hong Kong

The following are videos of 1984 McDonald’s Big Mac commercials in US (I believe) and Hong Kong respectively. To me, the Cantonese campaign actually trumped the English one! The HK commercial actually came as a part of a really smart campaign. And in hindsight, it can also be said that it was part of a campaign to “brainwash” HK kids with the virtues of Big Mac! How so? Well, HK kids were asked to memorize and recite a promo about the virtues of Big Mac in less than six seconds (see following Cantonese ad), in exchange for a FREE Big Mac!

I and many HK kids recited the promo in less than six seconds with flying colours! I didn’t know then, but in hindsight if this campaign didn’t fall under “brainwashing” I don’t know what would. Yes, in case you ask, after all these years, I still can recite the Cantonese Hong Kong Big Mac promo in less than five seconds (not six)! In Canada (I am less sure about US), we now have advertising/marketing guidelines as to what we can do to advertise to young children, and I am happy to say there are forms of advertising we don’t allow any company to do to influence the mind of young ones.

P.S. Setting aside ethics and morality for a moment, the Hong Kong advertising/marketing team did one heck of a job in improving upon the original US ad concept. Translating the language and culture of an ad is almost impossible but improving upon was really pushing everything one level up! Great job even I had to set aside ethics and morality to praise the original 1984 HK McDonald’s Big Mac team.

English “1984 McDonald’s Big Mac Commercial”

Cantonese “香港電視廣告 – 麥當勞: 巨無霸急口令 (1984年)”

In Chinese/Cantonese: 隻層牛肉巨無霸, 醬汁洋蔥夾青瓜, 芝士生菜加芝麻, 人人食過笑哈哈

1984 McDonald's Big Mac Commercial - English


Everything is copy. Everything is material. – New Quote I Love

Wednesday, 27 June, 2012

A new addition to my collection of Quotes I Love,

Everything is copy. Everything is material. Some day this will be a funny story. Doesn’t seem funny now, but trust me, someday it will be funny.” – Nora Ephron via Conversations at KCTS 9 (YouTube video)


Masterclass with Mike Fleiss, creator of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, #banff2012

Sunday, 17 June, 2012

Mike Fleiss, executive producer of The Bachelor franchise, (including The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad)

My friends will tell you I am no fan of reality TV genre but I was totally fascinated by the interesting & insightful masterclass with Mike Fleiss, creator of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, #banff2012. Enjoy.

Here is the 2012 Banff World Media Festival‘s session description

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette – Masterclass with Mike Fleiss
Mike Fleiss has created more than three dozen network television shows over the past two decades. The hallmark of his career? Controversy. Among his most controversial shows are: “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?,” “Breaking the Magician’s Code,” “Are You Hot?” and “The Bachelor.” Each of these programs were ratings monsters, fueled in large part by their controversial nature. Fleiss will illustrate the role of controversy on modern television and how it has become an essential part of his career.

* How to create and embrace controversy?
* What role has controversy played in reality television?>
* How to handle the publicity surrounding a TV controversy?
* How is controversy your best marketing tool?”

Note: I want to be clear that I am still no fan of the reality TV genre but I just find Mike insightful and fascinating.


In Conversation with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012

Sunday, 17 June, 2012

Chuck Lorre, King of Comedy (Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, and The Big Bang Theory)

Here is a very insightful “in conversation” session with Chuck Lorre (Creator of Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) at #banff2012.

Here is 2012 Banff’s session description:

“In Conversation With: Ustinov Award for Comedy Winner Chuck Lorre
Join us to celebrate this year’s Ustinov Award winner, Chuck Lorre — award-winning television creator, writer and producer known for such hit comedy series as “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly”. For the past 20 years, Lorre has delivered such hit shows as “Grace Under Fire,” “Dharma & Greg,” “Roseanne” and “Cybill.” He co-created the blockbuster comedy series “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” – which both rank as the #1 and #2 comedies among total viewers on all of U.S. television. The Ustinov Award recognizes a creative talent that has made an outstanding comedic contribution to the media industry, and Lorre is a natural fit. Past recipients include: John Cleese, Martin Short, Kelsey Grammer, Rick Mercer, Ricky Gervais and James Burrows.”


Terence Winter, creator of Boardwalk Empire, one-on-one interview at #banff2012

Saturday, 16 June, 2012

Terence Winter, Creator, Writer, Exec producer of HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire

Here is my one-on-one interview with Terence Winter, creator, writer, executive producer of HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire. Also don’t forget to watch Terence’s masterclass (video) at Banff 2012.

Note: In the interview, Terence recommends Syd Field‘s classic “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting” (first published in 1979).

Here is the official Banff session description.

Boardwalk Empire – Masterclass with Terence Winter
A few short years after his tenure on The Sopranos ended, Terence Winter brought the gangster genre roaring back with Boardwalk Empire, a sweeping epic set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City. Along with Executive Producer Martin Scorsese, series Creator Winter deftly weaves fact and fiction to pull back the curtain on the worlds of both crime and politics. Join Winter as he discusses what it takes to create and produce an award-winning period drama.
What was the creative process of adapting an episodic series from a novel?
What are the challenges and limitations of integrating real-life figures with fictional characters?
What is it like collaborating with Martin Scorsese, one of the true masters of cinema?
What are the creative limitations and benefits to producing a period drama?”


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