Uh-oh – "You’ve" Been At It Again

A month or so ago, I, as many bloggers did, posted about Time Magazine giving their person of the year award to ‘you’.

Quite clever, we thought (albeit slightly misleading when you think about it).

Am I alone, however, in thinking that the pre-eminent purveyor of ad news in the US, Advertising Age, has taken it a little too far by naming their agency of the year “the consumer”?

I mean, come on. Sure, we have seen some great spontaneous consumer generated content. Some of the Diet Coke & Mentos stuff was genius. But a lot of it isn’t. Great brand communication remains a fusion of inspired planning insight and excellent creative execution, with a hearty dose of je ne sais quoi – resulting in something that consumers pull off every now and again, but that great agencies routinely deliver.

Two months ago, this may have worked. Maybe this wouldn’t have looked so trite if Time Magazine hadn’t got there first. But as they did, I think that this choice is perhaps a little lazy, and certainly hackneyed.

And while we’re on consumer generated content, what do you think of this little effort by Dove? (Owners of perhaps one of the best campaigns – and pieces of strategic insight – of 2005/6). Oh dear. The more we try and coax (force?) this kind of stuff out of consumers, the more it’s unlikely the consumer will retain their agency of the year crown in 2007…

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4 Responses to “Uh-oh – "You’ve" Been At It Again”

  1. neilperkin Says:

    Right on doug. They admit they might end up looking ‘derivative’ and yep, they do. Don’t really get it myself. Agree you can’t force this type of thing but it seems that quite a few are…can’t they be a bit more imaginative? My post echoes your thoughts
    http://neilperkin.typepad.com/only_dead_fish/2007/01/ad_age_have_jus.html

  2. Gagey Says:

    I agree with you totally. A bandwagon that will be jumped on more and more. Jumping on this bandwagon is just as lazy as any other copycat ‘strategies’ in the past – use of celebrity, superbowl spots, endorsement, long-form content, loyalty card points, advertiser-funded programming, etc. etc. Where’s the genuine insight?

    In 2008/9 we will no doubt see the phoenix-like rebirth for the creative agency, where a well produced / directed 30-second spot based on genuine consumer insight will actually be a rarity and thus achieve stand out!

    For me, people who really want to ‘create’ stuff (UGC) have always done so – be it music, art, film etc. And generally those people are quite good at it – they have to be to warrant the time and effort that used to be required to create.

    Now I’m all for the democratisation of creation that the digital revolution has given us. Trouble is, it’s just too easy to create crap with no genuine talent or investment in time. the digital space is awash with rubbish, in my opinion, with us all still relying on WOM to find the good stuff. The long tail of content is getting longer, and the quality control button is switched to off.

    So examples like Dove become a worrying marriage of a poor strategic idea with poor content. Surely that’s not what we wanted….

    (unless you’re a competitor of Dove, maybe)

  3. mediawasp Says:

    Great post GD. So far I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from Dove (tube, tv, and the ‘deceptive beauty’ viral). But inviting women to create an ad for Dove? Surely not?

    It doesn’t really click with the product or target market. It’d be interesting to find out if this bandwagon jumping is coming from agency or client. How can this strategy be justified?

    On the other hand, a skateboarding company doing a competition for skaters to invent a new trick. That’s cool.

  4. daniel mejia Says:

    I not only think is lazy to copy what Time magazine did, is quite dangerous, because after all AdAge is the main magazine of our industry, and it’s saying that the very best in our field is the consumer…. I did my own reflections about it in my blog. Here is the link: http://danielmejia.wordpress.com/2007/01/11/welcome-to-consumer-age/… I’d like to know what you think about them.

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