Home Depot, Mastercard, Others Engage Customers for Advertising Creative

This article highlighting several companies what are engaging customers to create, vote or modify their ads.

Companies such as General Motors Corp., Sony Electronics Inc. and MasterCard Inc. are allowing consumers to choose which commercials will air on television, and in some cases even letting ordinary people create the ads themselves.

Last month Home Depot encouraged consumers to go to its Web site and vote for one of three 30-second TV commercials. The home improvement store chain said almost 450,000 votes were cast.

Meanwhile, SonyToyota, and L’Oreal Paris are allowing people to submit online spots (which they will pay for). Current TV, a youth-focused network, said having viewers produce ads for Sony and other sponsors is just a natural extension, because the audience already produces enough on-air content to fill 30% of its on-air broadcasts. The network said viewers will receive $1,000 for every ad that airs on Current TV and $5,000 to $50,000 if an advertiser chooses the spots for wider distribution.

Some might suggest this is Companies or Advertisers are asking us to do this out of laziness. That’s one perspective. The way to respond to this is not to respond to their campaign. But, there are a slice of people out there who would enjoy engaging with these brands. I don’t think this strategy is born out of laziness. In fact, it is probably more work for the company and agency to create a campaign to solicit and sort through campaigns.

Rather, I think this is a step towards an admission that marketing-generated-content is less effective than consumer-generated-content. Agencies create polished advertising. Even if funny, customers ‘feel’ they’re being marketed or sold to. And creative usually looks like this because company’s executives (in love with their company/product) are the approvers of this creative.

What’s worse is they give input through committee and blend opinions like a casserole until you end up with something unbelieveable and/or unbelievably mediocre. Maybe you and I (as consumers), who are ‘outside the bottle’, can do better?? This strategy is the beginning of a new trend. We have not reached maturity in this new marketing paradigm. These consumer-generated-campaigns are a stepping stone, and a positive acceptance by agencies and clients that authentic consumer generated media is more interesting than marketing and advertising. The best quote that captures the essense of this future is by Mike Fasulo, Sony’s CMO:

 “In effect, we’re allowing our consumers to tell us how they want products sold to them, not the other way around,” 

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