Thursday, May 03, 2007

Consumer-generated content: marketing flavor of the week

Consumer-generated content is the buzzword of year at my agency. Now that other brands have embraced the promotion of the moment--the consumer-generated TV ad--our clients are trying to decide if they should climb aboard the bandwagon.

And it's already a crowded space. The word-of-mouth gurus behind the Church of the Customer blog have assembled a great recap of some of most recent (post-Super Bowl and Oscars) make-your-own-commercial promotions. The bar for participation is set pretty high, so it's not surprising that most of these contests attract a mere 200 entries, peanuts in the land of consumer promotions.

My gut tells me this is a fad on its way out, which makes me happy, because the last thing a good creative wants to do is retread someone else's work. But there's been some positive fallout from this consumer-centric approach to marketing: brand marketers are learning to cultivate a dialog with their consumers. And trust me when I say there are much more compelling, customer-service oriented ways to reach your target audience than a contest that invites the most computer-savvy, driven ones to throw together an amateur commercial. Yes, there are a few diamonds in the rough, but they tend to be budding ad creatives themselves (like the Doritos' winner).

What do you think? Do you see yourself filming and editing a commercial for one of your favorite products in the hopes of winning a fame and a fabulous prize?