like for like

As many of you will already know, Facebook recently moved from “Becoming a Fan” of a brand to simply “Liking” it.

The change is now live on the site, and I’m already noticing some brands taking advantage of the shift.

One example that stood out is this sneaky little advert from Heineken:

I like the creative aspect – what’s not to like about a brand cheering me up on a Monday?

But here’s where the clever bit comes in.

The button at the bottom of the ad – the option to “Like” – appears to be set up like the normal “Like” button that appears below friends’ status updates and photos.

However, click on this particular “Like” button, and you’ll become a ‘fan’ of Heineken.

That means the brand’s status updates and other activity will show up in your News Feed until you choose to ‘unfan’ them.

From a certain perspective, this seems quite a clever use of the feature, but from another point of view, it seems dangerously close to spam.

What do you think?

The image at the top borrows shamelessly from this rather intriguing Facebook page. If it’s yours and you’d prefer me not to use it, please just drop me a note and I’ll take it down.

11 Responses to “like for like”

  1. 1 Rob April 26, 2010 at 16:27

    It’s sneaky but to be honest, if someone actually clicks they “LIKE” Heineken, then they’re sad enough not to care whether they are labelled a fan or not.

  2. 2 bonertown42 April 26, 2010 at 16:30

    I think you should read Facebooks blog. “Become a Fan” was changed to “Liking.”

    Nothing sneaky at all. It applies to every “Page” on Facebook now.

    • 3 eskimon April 26, 2010 at 16:48

      Thanks for sharing! Yes, I knew they were changing this; it’s just the way the placement appears in this specific ad that interests me. Would the average facebooker know they’re signing up to receive multiple brand updates just because they “like” this ad / activity?

      • 4 bonertown42 April 26, 2010 at 17:57

        Facebook released a document when they first revealed the change that users found the “Like” more intuitive than “Becoming a Fan”. Personally, it’s not the most intuitive thing to me, but I suppose they’re more attuned to user behavior on the site than myself.

        We’ll see how the transition goes. Only after a week of usage, the language used to talk with fans has become slightly awkward.. Are they still fans, or “Likers”? 🙂

      • 5 eskimon April 26, 2010 at 19:02

        It’s funny – any change on Facebook is always met with mass outcries, regardless of whether it improves the way the site works or not.

        The new terminology is definitely awkward, but I think many people would be more comfortable “liking” a brand instead of being its “fan”, so it might offer brands greater scope to connect with larger audiences.

        In a similar way, I’m interested to see what will happen with the shift from Facebook Connect to Open Graph. It sounds like it has huge potential.

  3. 6 James Sowden April 26, 2010 at 17:31

    I think it’s well sneaky, but I quite like it (!)

    I saw that ad this morning and frankly the last thing I would like on Monday would be a message from Heineken (I had a number of conversations with them over the weekend.)

    On the flipside I like the consistency that the like function now brings across status updates, posts and brands.

    I’ll be interested to see if people continue to use it or whether it might actually hamper brands fan uptake over time.


  4. 7 seaninsixtyseconds April 26, 2010 at 23:03

    I think the key is that with free membership facebook needs to find someway to make money. If I like Heinekin, I don’t mind my friends seeing “I like Henekin.” SPAM generally are things you have no interest in. With the scary big brother background processes, SPAM is becoming relevant pop ups.

  5. 8 Rob April 27, 2010 at 13:51

    You’re so right about people’s default setting on anything to do with Facebook being “OUTRAGE”.

    Only Government or employees achieve that level of status which says something, even though I’m not entirely sure what!

    • 9 eskimon April 27, 2010 at 16:01

      Perhaps people do see Facebook’s owners as some sort of ‘government’.

      The only precedent to this kind of community is the web itself, but because no-one controls or regulates it, we’ve not experienced this kind of situation before.

      And looking at it from another angle, Facebook decisions do have significant impact, even when they’re trivial. People spend a lot of time on the site, and for many, it’s key to a lot of their social activity (even if that’s just organising ‘real-world’ events).

      More tellingly, even if Facebook members only spend a minute of their time on the site, the combined total of that time equates to more than 760 years of human life. With that kind of power does come some kind of responsibility, and while it would possibly be naive to compare it to any kind of governmental responsibility, it seems increasingly likely that an element of ‘democracy’ may become part of Facebook’s governance structure.

      But that could make life so much better. Imagine a governmental election where all you had to do was “like” a candidate. How much would that affect levels of participation?

      OK, I’m straying into totally different territory, but I’m sure there’s relevance there for brands…

  6. 10 Rayner Seah April 28, 2010 at 00:37

    This is essentially another ‘double-edged’ sword dilemma. Think about it…

    1) If a genuine ‘fan’ of Heineken do receive this ad and ‘likes’ it. This gives heineken an advantage of reaching out more extensively to their targeted segment of consumers.

    2) on the other hand, say a person who is quite neutral about heineken or perhaps, only has a slight preference of heineken receives this ad. He/she ‘likes’ it ,unaware of the actual ‘fan’ function that comes along with it; constant brand updates would be perceived as SPAM by. Attitude towards the brand would definitely go down in this case.

    Conclusion, it is important of heineken to be aware of the dilemma of this new ‘like’ function and not just merely use it to its own short-term advantages. Proper consumer segmentation/targeting should be done before the release of the ad.

    • 11 eskimon April 28, 2010 at 13:30

      Absolutely – great point Rayner. The short-term gains of spamming are never going to match the long-term benefits that carefully managed social engagement can deliver.

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