Shreyas Kulkarni

New Facebook ads explore the role of social media during a pandemic

The four new ad films are a continuation of the social media giant’s India-centric 'More Together' campaign.

Facebook has just released four new ads, which are an extension of its India-centric 'More Together' campaign. Each ad is 30 seconds long and talks about the issues we've faced during the Coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown.

The first ad features two young parents, with the mother complaining about too much work, thanks to working from home. She posts about it on Facebook.

The second ad features a doctor, who talks about how frontline medical staff haven't seen their families for weeks to keep them safe from the virus. We see her inquire about accommodations near her hospital.

Two roommates, in the third ad, discuss how hard it is to send money to their maid, who doesn't have a digital payments account and has returned to her remote hometown because of the pandemic. They then ask their Facebook friends if someone stays, or knows anyone staying, near the maid's hometown.

In the fourth and final ad, two aged parents are seen talking about the dilemma they face when their daughter, who works in another town, emphasises that they shouldn’t leave their home during lockdown. But, what about essential supplies? Well, the daughter is seen searching for a solution on the website.

These are issues either we've all faced, or know someone who has faced, during lockdown. In all the four ads, we see one striking point, or a similarity, i.e., how posting the issue on Facebook helped the people in the ads find a solution.

The young parents in the first ad discover other parents facing similar issues. They all decide that each parent will teach the kids something online to keep them busy.

The doctor (in the second ad) is flooded with accommodation offers; rent-free ones, too.

The roommates (in the third ad) end up finding a friend's uncle, who offers to pay their maid cash in exchange for the money they have sent him online.

And, the aged parents' daughter (fourth ad) comes to know of a weekend doorstep delivery service for them (her parents).

The 'More Together' campaign was launched five months ago, in March 2020. Designed for the Facebook app, it was aimed to highlight the power of connections on the social media platform.

Before these four ads, Facebook had released two ads. The first one was about how Ketan's (the ad's protagonist) friends in India used Facebook to help him celebrate Holi in Romania. The second one portrayed the power of community that helped a group of girls bring their fashion dreams to life.

We wondered if we're now seeing a change in positioning from Facebook. Away from the 'connection' and 'people' emphasis of the earlier ads, to one where the social media platform becomes the go-to place during hard times.

Pallavi Chakravarti
Pallavi Chakravarti

Pallavi Chakravarti, ECD, Taproot Dentsu, the agency behind this campaign, disagrees. "No, the strategy hasn't changed at all right from the first ads - Holi and jeans to the recent ones. The fundamental thought was and is around people doing more together."

She also said that while Facebook remains the vehicle to do more together, it is the people who're the fuel. Drawing a parallel, in the Holi ad and the jeans and saree ad, we saw people do things they want to while Facebook was just a means to achieve it. 'More Together' has remained the essence of it because people are each other's best resources.

Chakravarti says that in the new campaign, all the four ads are contextual and based on true stories; they're situations we've all faced and it's where people came forward to help each other. "It's all about the will to rise above circumstance through the power of connections."

In an email response, Avinash Pant, director – marketing, Facebook India, said, "This is an extension of our ‘More Together’ campaign that we launched in March this year. The brand’s belief that we can do more together, than alone, is deeply entrenched in the cultural fabric of India. During these unprecedented times, we have seen the way people have used our platform to reach out, get help, and be there for one another."

"The world has changed over the past few months. The latest phase of this campaign draws inspiration from how people leaned into the power of their connections through the platform to navigate these unprecedented times."

"The few stories we have chosen can be anyone’s story. In fact, I am sure that all of us know someone who has similar experiences in the last few months. Just like with our campaign in March, these films demonstrate that when you ‘open up your heart, the world will open up for you’," Pant signs off.

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