The birth of open source advertising: Please spread the word

A colleague of mine at Columbia College asked me about an article he recently read claiming that the Obama campaign was the first organization to perfect the use of “open source advertising.”

While I can’t find the source of that article (if you know where I could read up on it, please let me know), it got me thinking.

The cynical side of me started wondering about how long it will take for an agency to claim a specialty in this area, how long will it take for one of the “hip” marketing firm will name its first Director of Open Source Advertising, and how many weeks it will take before I receive my first direct mailer for an upcoming trade show that is featuring this topic in their keynote. Perhaps one—or even all three—of these have already happened.

And, the then opportunistic side of me began wondering if I could turn this idea into a book deal. Then, I’d be the one giving those keynotes. But I’m already working on two upcoming books as a co-author and I have to keep making sure my most recent book continues to find a life. So if I were to take on a book project about open source advertising, the time would be gone before I complete it.

Seriously, the concept of open source advertising sounds sound. Rather than relying on the whims of consumers to get the brand right, open source advertising (as it was explained to me) ensures that consumers get the brand right when they create their own communications about a product, service, or person. Inspired by the principles of open source software development , people are allowed to adapt and improve the original material in order to better communicate the material. How this can be done for toilet paper and other low involvement products, I am not sure.

But I guess I’ll leave that to the new Open Source Advertising Gurus and Directors of Open Source Advertising. After all, isn’t that how our industry works? Because if we can’t hype ourselves, who can we hype?

27 comments: said...

I guess Pepsi is sort of doing it already:

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I claimed it for my agency the other week. Read all about it here:

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