Jeff Flemings' pre-Christmas post about the Time Magazine (Person of the Year) cover gave me something to chew over during the holidays. Yeah, it's all about me - there can be no question. But has it become so much about me that I'm meant to supply all the content?
Right before Christmas I received an email from Dove asking me to create my own user-generated commercial for their new Dove Cream Oil product. I bit and clicked through to the site which is quite well done, features a nice intro hosted by Sara Ramirez, most recently of Grey's Anatomy, and tutorial on how to create my own commercial. Dove supplies clips and text slides and offers you the option of uploading your own video. The videos are hosted by AOL, and I assume are being moderated/monitored as I didn't find anything objectionable in the 30 or so commercials that I watched (of the 91 on the site as of this writing.) The winning video will be shown during the Academy Awards broadcast in February.
The Chevy Tahoe "Make Your Own Commercial" project in the Spring of 2006 was highlighted in many blogs and ad watcher columns as a case study in how not to run a contest. People were driven to the contest via a sponsorship deal with the NBC show "The Apprentice" - so hundreds of thousands of people logged on and mixed and matched Chevy-supplied Tahoe footage and added their own text. A lot of brutal, raw, "brand-inappropriate" text - and no one was minding the store. Anyone with an opinion on the environment or SUVs or the true cost of oil made a commercial - and it landed on the official Chevy site. (Briefly) The videos have long since disappeared from the Chevy site, but you can still find several commercials on YouTube.
In other consumer supplied content news, the FX Channel is promoting its new show titled "Dirt" (starring Courtney Cox as a delicously sleazy gossip magazine editor) by giving visitors to the Dirt site an opportunity for 15 minutes (or less) of fame. You can upload a photo of yourself with a celebrity (verrrry loosely defined) and other visitors to the site can vote on your level of fame from 1 minute to 15 minutes. Now knowing that the public at large can be quite harsh, why would you set yourself up for a 1-minute designation?
So your commercial might be shown during the Academy Awards, you could blaspheme on a company site, and you may post your "brush with greatness" and get ranked by complete strangers. But why? Where is this going? As an industry are we out of ideas, are we becoming lazy or just lost our direction? The Internets is open and operators are standing by. Thoughts people, I'm looking for your user-generated thoughts. Feel free to post the link to your YouTube video of comments, I'll totally favorite you.