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.

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