Viral review: Facebook finds its humanity with quirky series

Facebook: releases viral video series
Facebook: releases viral video series

Social video expert Unruly reviews the latest social video series by Facebook

Facebook: Just In Case Studies

There’s a bright new spark in social video - it just so happens to be one of the world’s largest tech companies, Facebook.

This year the social network this year has thrown down the gauntlet to YouTube, deftly rebranding itself as the most accessible video platform on the social web.

Concurrent with these seismic shifts in the social video landscape, Facebook has just released a smart and snappy series of ads, entitled ‘Just In Case Studies’.

As the name suggests, each video outlines the many ways Facebook can come in handy in your everyday life.

For example, there’s ‘How To Block Someone’ for relationship drama, ‘How To Edit A Post’ for typo woes and ‘How To Untag A Photo’ for office Christmas party selfies.

What ‘Just In Case Studies’ doesn’t quite communicate is how unusual and artful these spots are. They take the form of quirky vignettes, underlined by the narrator’s soporific SoCal drawl, demonstrating the human impulses behind an interface most of us interact with several times a day. With cinematic flair and careful writing, the spots poke at the idiosyncrasies produced when our real and online lives collide.

A face on Facebook

In this sense, the series is a clear attempt to, pardon the pun, put a face on Facebook. This is something the brand hasn’t managed to achieve with previous campaigns. In 2012, the social network's first major video spot, ‘Things That Connect Us’ displayed some clever technical craft, but failed to ignite sharing interest. A strong emotional response is the bedrock of shareable content, and many otherwise accomplished campaigns have floundered by ignoring this fact.

Has Facebook found its humanity in ‘Just In Case Studies’? There’s certainly an emotional appeal to each of the spots, pinning a social media convention to a real life situation. ‘How To Block Someone’, in particular, with its silent confrontation followed by a sweet twist in the tale, is the strongest of the bunch. Having said that, the sharing figures tell a more bitter story.

Facebook’s own video advertising has never truly broken through and ‘Just In Case Studies’ will not break that trend with less than a thousand shares for each installment.  

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