Advertising Lives To See Another Day: Consumer Ads Stink

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If you step away from the masses-with-gain-control-of-all People’s Republic of Internetia for a minute and take a look at one of those “create your own commercial!” contests, you’ll immediately be faced with the reality that people have no idea what their doing. Such is part of the point of “The High Price of Creating Free Ads” in the NY Times. The other half of the article concerns how expensive it is to run these things, primarily in having to watch all the junk that gets sent in (and most of it is completely awful, they say). Good news for those of us in advertising. Whew. Here’s a bit:

Some people, meanwhile, have been using the contests as an opportunity to scrawl digital graffiti on the sponsor and its brand. Rejected Heinz submissions have been showing up on YouTube anyway, and visitors to Heinz’s page on the site have written that the ketchup maker is clearly looking for “cheap labor” and that Heinz is “lazy” to ask consumers to do its marketing work.

“That’s kind of a popular misnomer that, somehow, it’s cheaper to do this,” said David Ciesinski, vice president for Heinz Ketchup. “On the contrary, it’s at least as expensive, if not more.”

But please don’t forget how effective these contests can be, either. Particularly when it comes to this writer’s entries for Asheville, North Carolina’s “make your own commercial” contest. Although we made six of the thirteen total entries, but didn’t win and we never heard back from them, you’ll see that they posted each and every one and we’re imagining that they still must be wildly happy with them, even to this day.