4 Give Consumers

4 Give Consumers control

It was only a matter of time. User-generated content exploded on the Web (and will continue to do so if Google has anything to do with it), trickled onto TV, and now marketers are handing over control of their most valuable airtime: the Super Bowl, at $2.5 million for 30 seconds. In-game advertisers like Doritos, Chevrolet and the NFL held contests inviting the public to create commercials for Feb. 2’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLI, but only Doritos plans to air the winning entry during the game. The NFL and Chevrolet are playing it safer, commissioning consumers’ ideas for the game, but are leaving the execution of the commercials to the professionals. Will consumers be able to tell the difference? Will they care? The free publicity the brands have received months in advance of the game lends valuable anticipation (read “buzz”) to their Super Bowl appearances. But, generally, most of the consumer-created content we’ve seen produced through brand initiatives such as this hasn’t lived up to its hype. So jump on the bandwagon with care.