April 24, 2013 Jaclyn Bickerton
Facebook has released a controversial new advertisement for Facebook Home called “Dinner.” The video spot focuses on a young woman using Facebook Home on her smartphone while eating dinner with her family. As an older relative goes on and on about pet food, the young woman flicks through her smartphone because she’s bored. As she flicks through her phone, the scene changes from a drummer to a group of ballerinas to a snowball fight; completely drowning out her family’s conversation.
This ad is taking a lot of heat from a lot of people, and it’s not hard to see why. Brian S. Hall of ReadWrite.com notes “The message here is plain: your family is boring; really, really boring. Even when the family is seated around the dinner table, it’s best if you pull out your phone and watch what all your cool friends are up to.”
The ad also received some tough words from Robert Hof on Forbes. “This ad simply showed someone blowing off her real-world relatives for her more exciting friends doing more exciting things,” he said “In other words, Facebook Home makes it a whole lot easier to be rude to your family and in-the-flesh friends.”
The responses on social media are just as harsh.
In my opinion, Evan Selinger put it best in his article “Facebook Home Propaganda Makes Selfishness Contagious” on wired.com: “So why doesn’t the “Dinner” ad depress us? Well that’s where the clever propaganda comes in — the ads give Selfish Girl special license: Everyone else behaves responsibly except for her. Moreover, her irresponsible behavior doesn’t affect what others do.”
The previous two Facebook Home ads also endorse being selfish and disrespectful. You can take a look at all three Facebook Home ads here:
The new Facebook Home ads certainly try to be fun and witty, but encouraging young people to ignore their family (or the rules, or their boss) to look at pictures of friends on Facebook is just plain insulting. All in all, I see where Facebook is coming from with these ads but the only thing they’re leaving me with is a bad taste in my mouth.
Jaclyn Bickerton, Social Media, Raven5 Ltd, Oakville and Toronto, Ontario, April 2013