Is it just us, or does it seem like a lot of companies lately are trying to turn a profit by letting us do their jobs for them? We reported earlier today on early indications that fast food is going to be going self-service, and now, companies are trying to get us to create their ads for them.
Companies such as Mastercard, Chevrolet, GM and Home Depot have been experimenting with customer influenced content for awhile. Home Depot asked fans to vote for their favorite commercial out of a pool for three, putting the winner in heavy rotation. Chevrolet is also having a contest to design their net ad for them over at their website. Companies like Sony, L’Oreal and Toyota are even getting in on the act.
One thing we’ve noticed about all of these contests is exactly how boring and limiting they are. If you try to make a Chevrolet commercial at the link above, for example, you’ll quickly note exactly how limiting the comedic potential is when all you’re doing is randomly mixing together trucks driving through sunflower beds and internal looks at the engine.
The best experiment we saw in this sort of marketing was a few years back for Fanta Denmark. It was called Fanta Shokata — truly brilliant, they allowed you to subtitle various public domain Pakistani action films into a Fanta commercial. It was just for fun, but when distributing your film of two mustachioed Pakistanis having an enraptured homoerotic conversation with one another to your friends, the Fanta Shokata logo was always flashed at the beginning and end. A huge number people started paying attention to Fanta because it encouraged consumers to use their senses of humor and creativity — a quality this new slate of “do our ads for us” initiatives sorely seems to lack. It makes these companies look less progressive and more like lazy asses.
If they make it, they will watch [Detroit Free Press]