It's Impossible to Tell a Pied Piper Parody Ad From an Actual Facebook Ad

At the start of last night’s Silicon Valley, Pied Piper is in a pickle. Although the startup’s new file-compression tool has been well-received, it needs to increase its daily active users to rake in more capital. So Richard Hendrix and the boys try a revolutionary new approach: Pied Piper makes a TV commercial.

If it feels familiar, and not just in the stereotypically icky dot-commy way, the ad is pretty much a shot-for-shot recreation of Facebook’s famously awful “Chairs” ad from 2012. Which, by the way, was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, long before he won back-to-back Oscars.

Did the ad-buy gamble work for Facebook? Well, the 2012 ad was timed to celebrate the fact that Facebook had signed up a billion users, and by 2015, Mark Zuckerberg announced that a billion people were using Facebook every day. If only Pied Piper could get that kind of penetration.


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Alissa Walker

Alissa is the former urbanism editor at Gizmodo.