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BizReport : Advertising archives : September 26, 2006

Marketing Gets Customer Inspired

If you thought big companies like Mastercard or Emerald Nuts were crazy for letting customers create ads, you were right. They were crazy. Like a fox.

by Kristina Knight

Allowing customers to create their own adspace is actually pretty ingenious. In today’s marketplace, consumers are tired of traditional ads. They want fast, smart and interactive. Allowing your customers to create their own ads for your online business may be a great way to boost traffic – and sales.

Giving up control is a way to actually gain control, according to some marketers.

"I can't say that this technique [of consumer-created commercials] will ever produce the best commercials. But as a source for getting user-feedback, ad inspiration and creating centers of influence, I think the idea is pretty interesting," said Squirrel Hill marketing consultant Jodi S. Klebick (as quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

So how can smaller businesses compete with large companies when it comes to user-generated ads? By keeping it simple. Million dollar prizes are fine if you have millions of dollars to work with. For smaller companies, the promise of fame could work just as well.

So far the results from grassroots ads have been mixed. Mastercard got 100,000 “quality” ideas from their contest. No word how many non-quality ideas were generated. And when Chevrolet allowed customers to create ads for the Tahoe, anti-SUV ads also appeared on their website.

But, the ideas did get customers talking.

Tags: grassroots advertising, online advertising

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