Here's your chance to be an amateur

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It's consumer-generated ad time - and you, dear reader, are my consumer.
I'm proud to announce the first Derek Moore/DM News Festival of Consumer Generated Content About Consumer Generated Content. Or, as I affectionately call it, "Agency Idol."
It's simple, and it doesn't take talent. Post your comments to AgencyIdol.com (details below) on what you think about this newfangled "consumer-generated content" thang. I promise, you won't be alone.
At this writing, it's reported that Chevrolet, the NFL and Doritos are turning over the creation of their Super Bowl ads to the public. Hence, my question du jour for all you aspiring bloggers: Will they get their money's worth?
They seem confident. After all, you don't bet $2.6 million on 30 seconds of airtime if you're not. Some contend that fighting the camcorder-wielders is only fighting the inevitable, that it's just our fear of losing control over brand image - control we already lost years ago. And as DM News' Mickey Alam Khan has pointed out, if your customers love your brand enough to make it their own, why stop them?
But if you're looking for a sobering counterpoint, check out Alex Wipperfurth's "Brand Hijack." He warns that giant clients (he names names) already are wimping out. While pretending to become "participatory" brands, they're transparently clinging to control via tactics like limiting the subject areas of consumers' blog postings. This is the worst choice they could make, as it simply makes them look like phonies.
In my role as America's Ad Coward, I feel strongly both ways. I think consumer-generated content is not the way to launch a brand, especially a parity product that needs to be precisely defined. But it can be a way to add dimension to an existing one. As for those Super Bowl sponsors, I'll make one prediction: One of them could make a big splash, but all three won't.
But who cares what I think? You're the columnist now. Tap out your most eloquent commentary, then post it at AgencyIdol.com before Feb. 13. I've set up the site just for this occasion. Nobody there will offer you a home equity loan or tell you to "ask your doctor" about anything. You will get to see your views flashed around the Web. As for me, I'll get continued exposure for my name in this newspaper, plus a charismatic stamp-size picture of myself over your submissions. Just the kind of free publicity you'd be giving me if I were your favorite six-pack of Red Bull.


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