My thoughts on sponsored content, product placement, branded entertainment, and advertainment.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why hire an ad agency when.....

Why hire an advertising agency when there are millions of people begging to made your ad for free? Or the small compensation of a plane ride to an event, or some scholarship money. More and more companies are taking advantage of this idea, and are making advertising even more personal. It's like the Youtube concept with a little more recognition, and it's easy to see how viral this advertainment can be.

I first heard about Coke's make-an-ad while I was sitting at the movies. The fact that there are even commercials at the movies should be a whole different blog entry... But anyways, at the movie they played a commercial that a college student created and produced. It was really cute, it had little monkeys in it. HELLOOOO she received a scholarship for 30 grand. That's a pretty bad deal, if you ask me. She should raise her rates.

Now what Coke got out of this was a commercial that people would pay attention to. It's the ultimate form of advertainment. The student who produced the short film-turned-Coke-commercial has made the commercial more personal, and I'm sure her friends, family, and entire college campus is buzzing about Coke now. Probably even the entire town. Maybe the entire state! See what I'm getting at? This is entertainment in commercial form that people want to see. The contests are are ongoing, and are now available from Coke's mainpage,

The trend is really picking up right now. In October, the NFL announced that they would let the fans make the ultimate NFL Superbowl ad. It's such a great marketing idea because fans will become even more obsessed with football if their free time is spend make clips and editing a commercial of broadcast quality. Heck, it will probably attract an audience that goes beyond NFL fans. If the incentive is worth it (and in this case, who doesn't want a trip to South Florida?) then people will go for it.

JVC jumped on this bandwagon today, announcing a contest for the best home-made commercial (read more). This is really creating awareness of the product by turning commercials into entertainment. The fact that it is entertainment by our peers makes the desire to see these commercials even higher.

Thanks to sites like Youtube and Myspace, user-generated content is very high in popularity. If some stupid video of a Diet Coke and Mentos explosion can gain so much attention, only imagine what a well-though out, carefully produced clip will do for the company.

Of course, there is always a downside to everything. When Chevrolet announced a contest to create the best ad, some great material was submitted--along with commercials criticizing the Tahoe and it's massive fuel use. These commercials then circulated on the internet, proving that branded entertainment, combined with the viral effect of user-generated internet site, creates material that people will want to see. Hopefully it's the material that the company wants them to see.


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