Saturday, May 26, 2007

More Stupid Consumer Generated Content

The New York Times has a featured article on the challenges brands face when promoting consumer generated advertisements.
...these companies have found that inviting consumers to create their advertising is often more stressful, costly and time-consuming than just rolling up their sleeves and doing the work themselves. Many entries are mediocre, if not downright bad, and sifting through them requires full-time attention. And even the most well-known brands often spend millions of dollars upfront to get the word out to consumers.

Featured is this endearing little blip entitled "Heinz, its not just for fries", where the auteur demonstrates other uses for the condiment.

Similarly, at the forefront of Coca Cola consumer generated content on YouTube is this aggressive version of the classic mentos & diet coke demonstration.

The implicit controversy suggested by this article is twofold

1. These ads made by consumers, frankly, suck.
2. This type of marketing costs more than it would to make a good ad.
3. Why would a company do that?

And I think it represents a change in the way that people engage with brands, that people are anxious to prioritize authenticity over execution. The sucky ads on youtube are, in fact, probably the most compelling interaction I've had with the Heinz brand.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Get a Job at LowerMyBills!

At a time when the mortgage lead generation industry is contracting, category leader LendingTree is laying off 20% of staff, LowerMyBills is, well, hiring!

Yes, it's true, and 5 relatively senior marketing positions no less.

Meanwhile, LMB is being accused of agressive pricing tactics, aimed at suffocating the mom-and-pop competition.

What's going on?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Zillow don't know Zilch about New York City (or Arizona)

With the proliferation of property value websites across the internet, customers have become more aware, informed and confused about the actual value of their homes. Long the dominion of the local real estate agent, local property value now is automated and visible to all, from an easy google map interface. However, automated value estimates from firms like can vary significantly from true market values. Doing a local search in Manhattan, I get results like this or this. These examples show evidence that both the Recent Sale Price as well as the Zestimate value can be inaccurate.

The most visible recent reaction in the real estate community to inaccuracies in automated valuations has been in Arizona. In January, Arizon January, the Arizona Board reported in its minutes that "in addition to the two cease and desist letters issued by the Board to, the Criminal Division of the Assistant Attorney General's office issued a letter advising of possible criminal violations."