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January 16, 2007


Little Miss Curious

We are here for (lazy) clients who develop parity products that people don't need, in commoditised markets.

UGC is all very well if people are engaged with a brand/ category, either positively or negatively. What about all those brands about which people couldn't care less/ are ambivalent about?

These clients will still need planners to find clever/ interesting/ engaging things to say and ads/new forms of content to engage consumers and drive trial.


If offered the right kind of incentive, the 17 year-old in his/her proverbial bedroom is probably willing to make an advert for a 'low-interest' brand/product, too. It's a question of economics.

But the ‘dismal science’ might also explain why the ad agency will survive.

UGC is forcing the creative industries (inc. advertising) to ponder the influence of a huge shot of free-market thinking: a client can potentially pick the execution they want, when they want, from whoever they choose. As a result, the labour market (if that’s a fair term for adland’s finest) is forced to be a lot more flexible. You’re competing for every execution, rather than simply winning the account, knowing it will stay with your agency for a period of time. What’s more, with the supply of potential creative content (from UGC) going up and demand from clients (hypothetically) remaining the same, then the value of an agencies creative ideas go down. Adam Smith might put an end to expensive lunches…

But free-markets create short-termism, as the emphasis on cost-effective immediate results overweighs long-term concerns. (Think - if so inclined - of the diminished R&D budgets endured by privatized industries from the 1980’s. Or, on a more glamorous note, of how the growing supply of music on iTunes and other download sites is creating its own short-termism: a focus on the single, rather than the album).

And that would be the free-market effect in adland. A cheap, cost-effective execution (or to continue the music analogy, a single – or ‘shot of instant coffee’, in Bob Geldof’s words) would be readily available. But a free-market wouldn’t be as good at providing a campaign which thinks bigger in terms of scope, media options, and timespan. You get piecemeal results, with none of the coherence of campaigns that give long-term satisfaction, leaving clients still to seek an ‘Every little helps’, a ‘World’s Favourite Airline’ or a White out of Red.


to make things more famous than they would be without one.


Just a thought...

Hasn't "Brand Acceleration" superseded all the thinking not just in this thread, or this blog, but the whole of the - ahem - Plannersphere?

gordon euchler

there is a great argument from mit adverlab, arguing that it is more about user edited content rather than UCG, since most users do not have the time


Don't know what the future will be, given the popularity of UGC, but there is something that worries me more at the moment. When reviewing "ads" generated by consumers, I notice something even more telling about our industry at large: we're still making f&@*ing ads. In other words, consumers who set out to make adverts have seen so many rubbish ads, even their ads are addy. My point is that if we (as an industry) don't stop making ads, even user generated content won't save us. A bas les headline press ads(have we moved on since the 80's?), basta ya to the expected "award" winning television(let's start making 30" short films and music videos for products). Only then will we educate users enough for them to start making great ads themselves.

oakley sunglasses wholesale

he let someone bit on that.

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