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For some businesses, advert is the best way to reach out to prospective customers, with large budget for TV airtime or central spread advert in the Newspaper. The return on investment is there for them to see and they are quite satisfied.

But do you think all business needs to advertise? Are there better ways of reaching out to our prospective clients without actually budgeting so much for media production? If one in seven people have come in contact with company, do you still need to advertise?

To understand this question, we need to look at the context in which advertisements plays a prominent role. Who on this earth has not heard of Coca Cola? Yet a lot of money is invested in its brand integration. Guess Pepsi is watching closely.

Recently, I saw the first ever advert of Facebook, the largest social networking site. I thought to myself, do they need this advert at this particular time? Facebook has just gone public so they need to act public? Celebrate a milestone or just what every other business does. Facebook has just hit a 1billion user, which is 1 in 7 of the world’s population. What is the message in this advert?

Word of the mouth marketing was all some of us needed to join Facebook, it was almost like a cult, you don’t want to be left out or get lost in the story, you want to be connected, even without adverts, and we all went on sign up, share, comment and post pictures.

With ‘Like us on Facebook’ on every business, from consumer goods to industrial, from government organisations to institutions, we have all contributed to the brand integration of this social media site, we were not paid for it but we actually don’t mind. Do you?

Social networking sites are more like services, connecting us together with our loved ones. You began to look at advertising services, its intangibility, you can feel it but you talk about it, not like a Volkswagen Golf or a Nike Shoe; It is not attracting but our experiences and interaction with these services goes a long way to create that right perception.

No doubt, Facebook needs to integrate their brands but I think a television advert is not needed at this point. It appears our continual involvement with Facebook is being commercialised, telling it to our faces that they are connecting us because we need more money from advertisers.

Such money spent on advert, at this stage should have being invested in some corporate social responsibilities to create another perception for your brand.  Providing bursaries or endowment at Universities, Documentaries showing how well Facebook in indeed connecting people. This will take media engagement to another level; The PR surrounding these CSR projects will be enough to integrate the brand with more enhanced perception. We will actually love to see the stories of connecting lives, celebrating those who has made use of Facebook for a notable cause, build on that and create more awareness.

Hopefully, it will bring the right result, a high ROI but if not, they have made a statement and it is left for individual viewers to make a meaning out of it.