Friday, January 12, 2007
User-generated Super Bowl Ads
The consumer-generated advertising--what I have been calling participatory advertising--lends an air of authenticity to the commercial form which has to a great extent lost its ability to gain and maintain consumer attention. During the holidays, BMW utilized an older video they found onYouTube.com in a commercial; this represents a hybrid form. Other marketers haven’t been quite as successful with consumer-generated advertising. Chevy’s Tahoe and Wal-Mart are among them. Anheuser-Busch will launch its own Budtv.com at this year’s Super Bowl. It will feature videos created by Budweiser that consumers willing to click on the budtv.com website can view. Yesterday, the NFL announced the winner of its consumer-generated Super Bowl ad contest featured on the website pictured here. Some advertising pundits claim this newer form--I’m not convinced it really is all that new--represents the loss of control on the part of ad agencies. As I reported in my earlier post, allowing consumers to become producers within this system of symbolic consumption is nothing more than a negotiation between the advertiser and the consumer; a way to engage core consumers utilizing a newer approach based on Web 2.0 social networking. But make no mistake; advertisers are not really giving up control, only trying to management the process and the outcome to their advantage. That’s the way advertising has always worked (or not). The consumer-generated advertisements appearing on the Super Bowl are special because of the size of the audience that will see them and the amount of money advertisers are willing to plunk down to have them shown. Just like last year’s ads and the year before, the marketers are only trying to break through the clutter and sustain the amplitude of the commercial beyond its 30 second appearance on television. In other words, “water-cooler” talk is a major objective - ads that get talked about the next day and beyond are considered effective. These consumer genderated ads will make their way onto YouTube.com where they will further be circulated by Bloggers, among others. What media convergence provides advertisers is an extended opportunity for consumers to experience the advertisements, if those consumer so choose.