Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You make it

Advertising is getting in on the YouTube phenomenon and is asking punters to make their own ads.

Frito-Lay and Chevrolet have got in on the whole user-generated-content buzz and holding a competition for people to submit their own ads.

The winners will get to see their work featured as part of Super Bowl XLI campaigns. Oh, there will be money and prizes as well.

As well as appearing on the biggest event in the advertising calendar the spots will, of course, appear online as well on the likes of YouTube turning into viral, which I think would make it free advertising.

Although the campaigns will be vetted before airing anywhere, so they will not quite be like some of the more unfettered content you've probably already see on YouTube.

Frito-Lay will allow consumers to vote for the winning ad, from five finalists it chooses, ensuring that it doesn't end up with anything it doesn't like. Chevrolet is leaving nothing to chance and plans to choose the winner with its agency.

The risk is, as with any UGC or content written by the user, that people will tell you exactly what they think and it might not always be good.

Just look what happened to Chevy the last time it got involved in UGC.

It ran a competition to allow people to create their own ad for the new 2007 Chevy Tahoe, and got something it didn't like: a rant against global warming.

One person, a Popbitch poster called Reverend Goatboy, created a spot that shows great shots of the new 4x4 Chevy racing off-road and sitting on top of glacial peaks, which was fine except the text accompanying the ads read like this.

"The arseholes who run the USA... and the people that use these..."..

With spots costing around $2.5m a pop at the Super Bowl you can bet that Chevrolet and Frito Lay will be treading very carefully in the run up to the February 4 game.

There's more on this story in the New York Times today.

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