Hiring Customers to Write Your Ads?
In the Dec. 14, 2005, issue of The Wall Street Journal, Susan Varnica wrote a story titled, “Marketers’ New Idea: Get the Consumer to Design the Ads.”
It seemed like a goofy idea that was being floated by Madison Avenue, but I saved it.
In May of this year, AdAge.com ran a story by Jean Halliday, “GM Asks Consumers to Make Vehicle Ads.” Viewers of “The Apprentice” could win trips and cash for creating a 30-second spot for the Chevy Tahoe truck.
Again, I saved the story, expecting never to use it.
And then this past Monday morning, Stuart Elliott, advertising columnist for The New York Times described the Association of National Advertisers conference in Orlando. Speaker after speaker admitted he or she had run out of ideas for their clients and proclaimed the gospel of consumer-written ads.
Suddenly this nutty idea has grown legs and gone legit.
Is it smart to have amateurs do the job of professionals?
I would say no.
More efficient ways exist to involve your customers.
General Advertising vs. Direct Marketing
Kao Corp., maker of Ban deodorant, targets teenage girls and young women. Ban’s assistant marketing director, P. J. Katien, told The Wall Street Journal that at a focus group, teens told the facilitator that they “wanted input in the messages being directed to them.”
Talking to these prospects in the old days, “you explained the benefit and explained the product and they would buy it,” Katien said. “Now it’s about getting her to feel like she is involved. No more one-way messaging.”
To involve these teens, Ban ran a contest in Cosmo Girl and Teen People offering 12-to-20-year-old readers the opportunity to submit a picture and caption for its “Ban It” campaign. The nine winning images would be run as an ad in US Weekly along with each creator’s first name, last initial and home town. A sampling of the nearly 4,000 entries: