This ad for Cuticura is currently on view at London Underground stations…
Nothing particularly remarkable about it, you might think; clear presentation of usage/benefit, big pack shot, category leader reassurance, etc.
A sensible ad for a sensible product.
But on second viewing, something else caught my eye – the presence of the Facebook logo in the bottom right hand corner.
Now I’m as big a fan of anti-bacterial hand gel as your next obsessive-compulsive.
It can be dead handy at things like festivals and when out and about with the kids. I’m glad it exists.
But why would I, or anyone even vaguely normal, want to connect with it on Facebook?
What could it possibly tell me on a regular, updated basis that I’d ever want to know?
Last time I looked, about 1700 people had ‘liked’ the brand.
This, I would suggest, is largely down to the fact that in return for doing so you can enter a draw for free stuff.
A large proportion of them are probably the sort of people who are willing to like anything on Facebook if it might lead to free stuff.
In which case, what benefit can the activity deliver to the company, beyond being able to feel pleasingly a la mode?
Surely the joy of simple, functional products like Cuticura is that there is no need to engage with them. They do a single practical thing and they do it reliably and well. Because they do, we all have more time in our life to engage with the people and things that we really care about. For that, we thank them. And we respect them when they appear to know us well enough to appreciate that’s the role they play in our lives.
But when they start asking me to make them part of my Facebook experience, then I wonder whether they really get me, or even themselves, at all.
Which makes me start questioning them altogether.
Even for just cleaning my hands.