The nonsensical nature of advertising
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
“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 large enough, they can sit down together. And tell jokes, or make up stories, or just listen. Chairs are for people, and that is why chairs are like Facebook.” Believe it or not, this isn’t an excerpt from the ramblings of some random drunk. It’s not even a quote from a poorly-written high school essay, attempting to be deep and unique. Absurd as it is, this was taken from Facebook’s first ever commercial.
My reaction to watching the video—once the raucous laughter had subsided—quickly turned to incredulousness. Somebody actually spent time writing out this ad. Somebody got paid to write it. And then, most amusing and befuddling of all, a major company decided to release this ad to the public, apparently quite proud, or at least confident in it.
Setting a series of clips to music and having a woman talk in a thoughtful fashion doesn’t hide the fact that the words being spoken aren’t saying anything. “Chairs are like Facebook;” really? There aren’t any parallels being drawn here. It’s more like taking a point and then extending two lines from it in completely opposite directions.
But my real worry here isn’t so much that such subpar drivel can masquerade as exceptional work; it’s that people might actually see it as good. Someone out there thought that comical excuse for a script was worthy of pouring untold amounts of money into. And seeing as someone was willing to put their job on the line for it, they’d better have been pretty sure that a good portion of the public would find it acceptable. With that in mind, there’s a very good chance that a part of the population actually watched that video and truly enjoyed it. In our world of constant increasing ridiculousness, we might cease to criticize this kind of thing.
Recently, a new German alcoholic beverage company called G-Spirits launched their brand on a rather…interesting premise. Directly from their website (NSFW, by the way), “To create the perfect taste we let every single drop of our spirits run over the breasts of a special woman, one whose characteristics we saw reflected in the liquor.” Apparently the products sell well with math clubs. But I digress. Unlike the Facebook ad, which is simply hysterically moronic, this ad fails in its sanitary considerations, if it is true. I don’t care how well someone bathes themselves, the human body isn’t the cleanest platform over which to pour any sort of liquid that is going to be consumed. The site states that they have a “hygienic filling process,” “medical personnel is present to verify everything is in order,” and that they “ensure not to break any of the food or consumer protection laws,” but I just don’t see how. In any case, people are eating (and drinking) this advertising right up.
But maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe Facebook released that ad with the belief that people would find it funny. Maybe no one actually watched it with all the feeling of an artsy film. Perhaps that German company is just an elaborate joke. Or maybe it truly exists, and they really do ensure that each drop of alcohol undergoes a titillating experience before being bottled in a completely sanitary fashion. In the end though, it’s all just as Dairy Queen says, “Ridiculous.”