If the advertising industry is so creative, why is the temptation of every marketer to play follow the leader. The latest rush to conformity is the showcasing of consumer produced content (video). Today's New York Times Advertising Column by Stuart Elliott describes the trend of advertisers to take the "Boobs" and put them on the Tube. The article titled "A CBS Take on the YouTube Madness" describes how CBS through CSTV.com is creating a rival video posting site to promote the upcoming Final Four NCAA basketball tournament otherwise known as March Madness. An appropriate way to describe not only the broadcast, but the idea of "competing" with YouTube.
Most brand touts (is that what I've become) believe that brands are co-created. The underlying thinking for user created video is that a brand is a collection of meaning. It's meaning is derived from the perception of its constituents. Video is an expression of user defined meaning. The problem is that when trying to stimulate purchase, meaning cannot be arbitrary and undirected. That is fine for the random YouTube video, but not for a car company that is trying to say buy your way to significance with a Porsche.
In their wisdom, advertisers are missing this point and allowing the consumer to assign any meaning they want. So if the video directors of future "You Boob" videos decide that they should submit vicdeo clips in the spirit of the acclaimed movie Jackass, then the meaning of March Madness will be stupid guy tricks. You get the point.
Dove launched a user created commercial last night created by "real women" as opposed to the usual fake women. Doritos did it on the Super Bowl and I'm sure there are 50 CEO's asking their CMO's to do it as well further shortening their career lifespan when the efforts fail. The question is are advertising agencies desperate to break through with whatever the idea of the moment is, or are user videos a weak substitute for the inability of agencies to create persuasive brand produced and ROI measurable advertising?
As for competing with YouTube . An unknown online site competing with the millions that visit YouTube every day. Another big idea from small thinkers.