Saturday March 18

Consumer Generated Content: Marketing Evolution or Revolution

Chevytahoe General Motors has launched a Consumer Generated Media campaign around their SUV brand Chevy Tahoe. Chevy Tahoe fans can customise their own commercial for the Tahoe. Participants can make a selection of a series of short 3-second clips and they are able to fill in their own copy. This all happens within the site and it's set up as a contest.

There's an interesting debate going on (at Jaffe's blog and at McConnell & Huba's blog) whether or not this is a CGM-campaign. Jacky Huba thinks it's not. According to her it's just a plain old contest, dressed up as a CGM-campaign. The reason for this is the fact that users can't spread their creations through mail or post them on Youtube.

In the comment section, columnist Peter Blackshaw (subscribe to his blog!) makes the following interesting remark:

For now, I say give the marketers some slack to test the waters and even take pride in the fact that they ceded a wee bit of control to the consumer. How often does that happen? Who knows where this will lead...

That was exactly how I felt about it. Which marketer has a brand or a product (so Steve Jobs, I'm not talking to you) of which he can be so self-confident that he can easily stimulate consumers to create their own version of a commercial and spread it through the internet. MasterCard for instance couldn't laugh with the enormous hype around their priceless campaign spoofs.

And the Chevy Tahoe SUV's are not stupid: they know that they can't just give SUV haters the tools for making the perfect anti-SUV ad. That's why they tried to keep the creative work within the safe walled gardens of the website. Well... they're not that safe actually, because Jaffe and Huba each hacked it anyway and they posted they're Tahoe-anti-Ad on Youtube (here and here).

At i-merge, we've been propagating the "consumer is in control" and the "create evangelist" massage for years. It's one of the core elements of our USP. We have lot's of clients and prospects who are very willing to listen to our story and who even think our message has a great amount of truth in it. Yet in the end they don't want to be the first ones to to revolutionairy campaigns. You can guide clients and advertisers into evolution, but almost never into revolution. And this is what this Tahoe campaign is all about: a first step for a major brand in the direction of evolution. Let them experience it and maybe it will make them hungry for more.


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