The video: To commemorate passing the 1 billion user mark, Facebook has released its first TV commercial, a spot that's ostensibly designed to make you genuflect before the awesome connective power of... Facebook. The problem is: People are laughing at the "truly weird" commercial instead. (Watch it below.) It opens with shots of chairs, some containing humans, before announcing quixotically, "Chairs are like Facebook." But it's not just furniture: "Doorbells, airplanes, bridges," which "people use to get together so they can open up and connect about ideas," are also like Facebook, the voice-over intones, before linking the social network grandiosely to the "universe." The spot, directed by Portland-based ad agency Wieden + Kennedy (who don't seem to realize that "doorbell" is an inherently funny word), is being panned by critics far and wide.
The reaction: Um, what's going on here? says Jeff Bercovici at Forbes. This inexplicable commercial starts off on a fairly mundane plane, but "winds up by reaching for the extremely profound." So, Facebook "connects your ass to a piece of wood?" says Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. "Or you sit at it for hours on end every day, vacantly?" This ad is "confusing and stupid, like a chair made out of spiders and chicken tenders." It might even be a little bit racist, says Jim Edwards at Business Insider, and uses "a lot of racial shorthand in order to represent exactly who 'we' are." In this commercial, "black people like to sit on junky furniture on the sidewalk, while white people lounge in richly furnished rooms." Take a look:
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