How Are You Adjusting?

From Ad Age:

What if ordinary TV viewers went from watching commercials to creating them? We’re about to find out.
Sony Electronics, Toyota Motor Sales USA and L’Oreal Paris have cut deals with Al Gore’s Current TV that will usher the beleaguered 30-second spot into the age of consumer-generated content and send shivers down the spines of agency creatives. The marketers will enlist the network’s viewers to produce commercials and will pay to air the best of those spots.
“Marketers grow up being brand guardians — here’s the handbook, here’s the logo, here’s how we use it,” said Anne Zehren, president-sales and marketing for Current TV. “Marketers now have to be brand hosts.”
That reflects the view of many proponents of user-created content, who believe brands will have to learn to give up control, that creative agencies will see their role reduced and that consumers will have as much of a say as marketers in defining a brand’s image.
Whether or not marketers like it, it’s already happening.
Tyson Ibele, a 19-year-old self-taught animator in Minneapolis, created a fake Sony spot last November that he posted to his personal Web site. The clip was quickly passed around the Web and became a hit; at one point Mr. Ibele had to yank it from his site when the traffic overwhelmed his server.
Current TV got in touch shortly after the holidays, telling Mr. Ibele his spot was a great example of what the network hoped to do with advertising. “We showed it to 15 Sony executives and they were speechless,” Ms. Zehren said. The spot will be the first submission for the viewer-created ad program.

Scary stuff, right? Wrong.
The future is one of co-creation.
I love consumer empowerment and I believe it’s great for business–the client’s and our own. But, the shift is not an earthquake, where everyone’s diving for cover. It’s a change of seasons.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.