Facebook’s Small but Major Change to their TV Ads

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Recently in a few select parts of the U.S, Facebook launched a TV ad campaign. The first set of ads were aired during major events/shows such as the VMAs and AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead”. You can view them here and here.

The campaign is an interesting and much different marketing approach from what we have typically seen from the social platform. While they have experimented with TV ads before, the social media beast is known to be a much bigger fan of “organic advertising”. Also, with over a billion people using Facebook every month, they don’t necessarily need advertising to help increase users. Then again, neither do major companies like Walmart, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, but that doesn’t stop them from running TV spots.

However, that’s not the most intriguing aspect of the campaign. The ads’ content and framework are what caught my attention. The ads appear to look like a Facebook post. Therefore, as soon as it played during a commercial break, I was able to make a quick connection. While each ad has a different meaning, they all highlight some form of engagement or interaction users can make on the social platform. (For example: Creating a milestone for when you open your own business.)

The original ending is what really got me thinking. Just before it finished, the iconic Facebook like symbol, the thumbs up, flashed across the screen. And that was it. The commercial was over. Not once did Facebook mention their name or feature their logo. They assumed that everyone would know that the commercial was highlighting the social platform by simply featuring a post layout and the thumbs up.

Very bold move. But they were right. Research shows that a majority of the U.S has a Facebook profile and that millions of people log in daily. Because of this, Facebook didn’t need aggressive branding to get their message across. They knew that TV watchers (most importantly, their target audience) would make the connection. That’s what I loved most about the ad.

But what I loved most, changed a few weeks later.

Shortly after the TV campaign launched, everyone started talking about a dislike button or an “other than like” button. Currently there are a lot of rumors flying around. Social Media consultant, Andrew Hutchinson, recently published an article on Social Media Today discussing the possibility of Facebook creating an emoji feature to help users’ express their feelings towards a post. Weeks have gone by and Facebook has not yet made an official announcement.

Are they sending us a message with their TV spots? I recently saw one of the TV ads again. The beginning was the same but the ending was different. No more thumbs up. The thumbs up was replaced with the Facebook icon/logo. A small but major change.

Facebook Before & After TV Ad

Are they slowly phasing out the infamous like button? Perhaps Facebook just wanted to be clever and bold when they first launched the TV campaign? Maybe a majority of people didn’t end up making the connection?  Again, a lot of speculation can come out of this.

Without some background info from Facebook, it’s a tough prediction to make. Despite the lack of confirmation, I’m looking forward to what Facebook is cooking!

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Shoot me a tweet at @iamsolberg.