I think we all remember the unfortunate Chevrolet promotion where Chevy asked users to make promotional web videos and pranksters responded with parodies about global warming. In following the advice of social media mavens to turn the brand free, Chevy got some unwanted publicity for their time and effort.
The experience of Chevy, and the rise of CGM is putting big brands in a tough spot. They want to engage their audiences, but when the risk of backlash from anti-corporate bloggers hits the executive suite, the creatives decide on less appealing, more career strategic promotions.
And that's too bad. But we did it to ourselves Case in point. Cheerios has a new promotion out to make your own television commercial. I was pretty excited about it, as one of my clients is Flektor, the video and photo editing software that makes it easy to mash up songs, pictures and video. My Fleks (the name for the videos) have been a big hit in the political realm, and I've been looking for ways to showcase the software to the marketing audience.
I saw the advertisement either on television or in the newspaper (strange I can't remember, as it was only Friday night), and made a note to go the site. Cheerios.com is simple and friendly, and the promotion link is on the front page. But it's not a video promotion. It's a promotion for copywriters.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to write 4-6 lines on a pre-made spot. It's a television caption contest.
I admit, I'm disappointed, but from a marketing standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. Cheerios gets to control the message (to some extent, as bloggers can still write about it on their own sites), and the fan gets the chance to make their own commercial, which honestly is still a pretty cool thing.
So I congratulate Cheerios on a well-managed promotion, integrated into several channels, and I imagine it will achieve its goals. I think I'll still make a video of it. Maybe a good one will inspire other companies to start doing the same.
If you are using the Flektor software to make commercials or videos, please let me know, and we'll feature it on the Flektor-blog.