Who cares about your story??!!

Whether you blame the tired Creative Director who’s run out of ideas or the Assistant Brand Manager that read about it in Forbes and knows he needs one of those “Consumer Generated” thingies on his web site, Consumer Generated Content (CGC) is here in a big way.

FACT: Most brands think allowing the consumer to participate makes them feel like they are a part of the brand.

Eh… Kinda, but nobody cares about your potpourri candle story or how using that product made you feel. If I want to know about how great scented candles are, I’ll blow the jack on one and light it up.

Who the hell is reading this crap? Is it the mother of 3.5 children trying to get her kids and Hubby fed? Or is it, in reality, old people with nothing better to do than spend their last years riffing about products that were never scoped for them in the first place.

It’s cool to think that letting the users create the content would make sites fresh and current. Like that Chevy Apprentice video contest site. Remember that one? The one where people posted Pro Green videos about the gas guzzlers and it actually got them MORE hits? Success. Sans filter.

REALITY: You could have millions hit your site due to your open platform or 5 suckers that believe the edited pro-brand version.

And is the method relevant in the first place? Some products like car stereo sites that let people give feed back and reviews are smart, but when it comes to a CGC site for Bounty (hypothetically), it just falls flat off. There’s nothing really to add here, you make a spill, Bounty soaks that sh*t up. No story, just wet paper towels.

In reality, products like Bounty should do more “Consumer Generated Experiences”. What’s that? You mean you can entertain AND allow the user to participate with your brand without just making a glorified bulletin board or MySpace rip-off???!! Yup.

Sites like Paper Critters, Red Interactive and Wendy’s Hot Juicy Burger, to name a few, do an awesome job at allowing the user to experience the site in a community aspect that is both experiential and entertaining. Imagine that! (Actually, you don't have to, just go to those links)

The moral of the story? “CGC” has its place in the market. All we’re saying is 1. Do it right. 2. Make it relevant and/or entertaining and 3. Know your product and how (or if) the audience wants to interact with your brand. BOOM!


Till Grabsch said...

Yo Peanuts,

great to have you back again.
Very curious over here in Berlin, what will happen on your blog in the next weeks.


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Tom Tom said...

CGC bugs the hell out of me. It's not that I'm afraid that some 12 year-old with a camcorder is going to steal my job, but because it's a little BS.

Clients assume that when WE make ads that are stupid and random that they're dumb, but if a consumer does it they think they're tapping into the market.

If an agency creative is given the same clear canvas they can do amazing things. But we're not. We're given a 40-foot logo, 12 key points, 3 "single most important" things to mention, a tagline, a closing line, and the trademarked technology mention. And we do amazing things with that. That's the craft, the art, the business.

Also, CGC isn't a consumer interacting with the product, it's the consumer trying to make themelves famous. They couldn't care less if it's for diapers or cars. It's a false branding.

Plus, I bet most of that stuff is just done by creatives at other agencies or film students. This isn't very likely the soccer mom hopping up and getting involved.

With that said, involving the consumer is awesome. It is the highest form of creative. If they really dig what you're about or you want them to, there are so many things you can do to open that dialogue. But stuff like "we have a site where the consumers reenact our commercial and they can win a prize" is just lazy creative, do your own jobs, don't pass it off.

Wow, this is long. Maybe I should saved it for my post on Sunday. Too late now. you guys get a freebie.

Brandon said...

Ill? no. Sick? Maybe a lil. Sick of the notion that CGC is the new obligatory section on corporate websites despite if it makes sense or not. The point was, get off the bandwagon and innovate.

It's a hard pill to swallow for most.

Toad said...

Hey. Ann from Daily Fix sent me a link to this post since it covers a subject near and dear to my heart.

You might want to check out my series "Your Brand Is Not My Friend™"


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