Two Christmas-themed ad campaigns have reminded us of the downside of social networks: the tendency to turn “friends” and “family members” into depersonalized, utilitarian objects that can be be manipulated to get what we want.
For example, want a 4G smartphone for Christmas? AT&T will let attorney Kent Wesley plead your case on Facebook.
In AT&T’s interactive new ad campaign, Arrested Development actor Will Arnett plays a lawyer who will use info gleaned by an app from your account—all legal, with permission, of course—to personally persuade those in your social network that you deserve a cellular upgrade.
Perhaps you’d rather give yourself the gift of beer. There’s an app for that too.
Along with creating some custom holiday e-cards, Heineken has launched the BeerFriender on Facebook. Created by Wieden+Kennedy New York, the app pairs you with a “friend” who’s also looking to purchase Heineken’s home draught system, the Beer Tender, and makes it look like you’re giving each other the gift for Christmas—complete with a note and wrapping paper.
“Consider this gift to yourself, Heineken’s gift to you,” the commercial states.
It’s a social-media-powered, sleight-of-hand trick, a modern take on a gift from Santa.
The only hitch? It’s Heineken.
Admittedly, it’s awkward to drop hints about what you want for Christmas. But these campaigns make us ask if things have gone a step too far.
What happened to the good old-fashioned days when you’d just add things on your Amazon.com wish list, then email it to your parents?