UGC faces some 'unprofessional' criticism at AgencyIdol.com
Last month, I invited readers to take over the authorship of my
column. You stepped up admirably. My Web site, AgencyIdol.com, is
bursting at the seams with your profound, pithy submissions.
But the problem is, I'm suspicious of your motives. When you weighed
in on whether you thought non-professionals could create professional-quality ad content, a majority of you said no. But here's my question: Why should I believe you? After all, if all you non-columnists out there are perfectly capably of writing a column, how can I trust your conclusion that non-creatives are powerless to do
OK, your arguments sound persuasive enough. For instance, some of you
contend that corporate sponsors will inevitably meddle with the
creative: "I don't buy that these are user-generated ads," said
Anonymous. "Real users would come up with [something] more
interesting. Your strategy is showing."
Big Al said: "Most 'consumer generated' I've seen smells like a
campaign hatched in a boardroom ... Vanilla."
A postgame survey of Super Bowl viewers should make Big Al feel a bit
bigger. While one user-generated Doritos' commercial scored high, the
other two UGC spots fell almost precisely into the forgettable middle
of the pack.
Some of my guest columnists saw another role for user-generated content.
"If we could see more moderated UGC coming out of more interesting
mediums than TV, we could use it as a tool to find out what people
want," said JtotheK.
"Maybe the area to focus on long-term is creating 'forums' for
consumers to create content," said Ann. "Not only will you get fresh
thinking -- it's open dialogue with consumers that hopefully you turn
But I've saved the last word for my personal Best Post awardee, Terry
Fitz: "When you people in advertising are really earning your money,
you are swimming in the confluence of Art and Science. It takes both
to get large numbers of people to buy. [User-generated content can
provide a] boatload of clever ideas, but they're unlikely to change
the sales picture for your clients in any significant way.
"Here's the truth: You are in a better position to understand how to
make money for your clients than even the most passionate amateur. So
don't give up your role ... do a better job!"