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Facebook, Meta and … BBQ Sauce?
Why was there a bottle of BBQ sauce behind Mark Zuckerberg?
Last week, Facebook announced a new parent company brand, Meta. While product brands including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and more will remain, they’re all now nestled under the Meta umbrella.
The move takes a page right out of Google’s playbook, after the search giant announced an overarching company named Alphabet.
The move by Facebook – ahem, Meta – gave CEO Mark Zuckerberg a chance to deliver a bold vision for the future of the company and divert some attention away from the social network’s negative press as of late.
So what’s up with the BBQ sauce?
Eagle-eyed viewers spotted a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce serving as a bookend over Zuck’s right shoulder in the video. It’s a reference to a 2016 meme featuring Zuckerberg professing his love for the sauce. Others noticed a bottle of sunscreen and other Easter eggs referencing past stories and memes about Zuckerberg and the brand.
Media outlets craving other angles and hot takes on a well-covered story flocked to the BBQ sauce story as another way to write about the big branding news.
That was a win for Facebook. In each new story, the details of the rebrand were shared, often with less commentary and debate than the articles focused solely on the new name.
It also expanded the coverage – now it’s not just tech reporters and branding experts writing and posting about the news. It’s anyone who spotted the bottle or other more subtle references.
Still, the playful memes – and the entire rebrand – are a risk given the intense criticism Facebook has faced of late. So far, giving its audience something else to focus on seems to be having the intended effect.