Meta debuts first brand campaign after changing name from Facebook

The company unveils an ad celebrating the possibilities of the metaverse—with the help of a classic painting

Published On
Nov 04, 2021

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Following its corporate rebrand to Meta last week, the company formerly known as Facebook today debuted its first brand campaign, which takes an unexpectedly simple approach to illustrate its ambitious goals to take on the metaverse—a classic 2D painting.  

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The commercial takes place in a museum, where a group of art students examines the vibrant jungle scene of French artist Henri Rousseau’s 1908 work, “Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo.” As the students look closer and closer, the creatures within come to life, drawing the onlookers into their leafy environs, where they discover more flora and fauna beyond the painting’s 2D surface.

The tiger in the painting glances up and announces, “This is the dimension of imagination,” in a voice that sounds strikingly similar to Rod Serling of “The Twilight Zone.” Toucans, snakes, mandrills, flamingos and clusters of bananas then begin to dance as the young observers get sucked in further, bouncing and nodding to the music. “This is going to be fun,” the endline reads, and Facebook's original wordmark, along with the logos of its suite of products, come together to reveal the new Meta branding. 

The campaign was created out of the company's internal Creative X group and Droga5, its lead agency for brand. The spot will be running on the company's platforms as well as on broadcast.

With its recent rebrand, Facebook, now Meta, has sought to reposition itself as a pioneer of the metaverse’s new frontier of computing and connecting people in a multi-dimensional, virtual world. “We’re really trying to lean into and share the vision of the company and really excite people about the possibilities of the metaverse,” said Global Director of Brand Marketing Jasmine Summerset-Karcie of the campaign.

Something so simple as a painting seemed a fitting starting point to introduce those possibilities. “We've all stood in museums and wondered, ‘What if this painting came to life?'” she said. “A lot of people are wondering, ‘What is the metaverse?’ This piece is really intended to inspire people; it’s a story of imagination and how our imaginations will ultimately define the metaverse.”

The ad was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang of Object & Animal, who is known for his striking otherworldly visuals, seen in his music videos for the likes of FKA Twigs and Björk. To create the creatures in the film, the production team brought in ​Sonny Gerasimowicz, known for designing the creature suits for Spike Jonze’s film adaption of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.” The team also worked with visual effects company Electric Theatre Collective, which developed a process involving AI machine learning to integrate the live-action creature puppets into 3D CG environments inspired by the Rousseau painting. 

The ad’s fantasy-filled approach is a sharp departure from the company’s previous big ads. During the pandemic, Facebook debuted resonant, heart-tugging pieces created with Droga5 that quietly asserted how the social platform helped to bring others together during times of strife, such as one featuring the poetry of Kate Tempest, another highlighting babies born during quarantine and one documenting a shuttered business’ efforts to help others who were struggling.

The company, however, has come under continuous fire from regulators, media, watchdogs and others for reportedly exacerbating social divisions and negatively impacting the mental health of some users, especially in recent months amidst revelations from whistleblowers such as former employee Frances Haugen. It remains to be seen whether the rebrand, as well as the optimistic approach of the new campaign, will be enough to divert attention from the controversies that have plagued the company.

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