Advertisers spend hundreds of thousands each year on consumer research, planning and campaign creation in attempts to reach target audiences and push their products. But for the past five years or so, some big name companies have reached out to fans to create their ads. It’s brilliant in its simplicity –what better way to grab the attention of your target audience than to have a member of it pen your ad for you?
User-created ads garner the most attention during football season. Whether you’re into the big game or not, millions watch the Super Bowl just to see what the companies who pay top dollar for ad spots come up with. For five years, PepsiCo has relied on consumers to create its Super Bowl ads, gaining the billion-dollar company plenty of pre-game media buzz. And who can forget last year’s Doritos ad with the personal space invader licking Dorito cheese residue off of his co-worker’s fingers?
Food and beverage companies aren’t the only ones getting in on the fan-ad action; Mashable reports that “[Saab] Thursday launched a promotion on its Facebook Page where fans can write and star in their own Saab banners that are designed to look like the company’s actual U.S. ad campaign, “The Story of Saab.” Since the performance of banner ads, especially on Facebook, is notoriously low, Saab aims to improve upon theirs by choosing the best consumer-generated banners and featuring them on the homepages of The New York Times, Wired and AOL. Volkswagen also asked consumers to pick the name of their next SUV in 2006.
One of the latest companies utilizing consumer-generated ads is Callaway Golf for ESPN.com. Like Saab, Callaway recently launched a promotion that allows users to create their own banner ads on ESPN’s homepage. Mashable columnist Todd Wasserman explains, “What makes the initiative attractive to ESPN is that after fans create their ads, they post on their Facebook walls. Fans’ friends could then click on the ads, which direct them to ESPN.com. Fans who opt to make their own banner get a choice of four possible quotes to supplement with their own message. The ad promotes Callaway’s new line of RAZR Driver and Iron golf clubs.”
This new marketing trend has proven to be markedly successful for companies. Social networking sites have closed the gap between businesses and consumers, allowing for a unique one-to-one line of communication unlike anything we’ve seen before. Social media marketing is booming, with 4 out of 5 U.S. companies using interactive marketing tools to advertise. Consumer-generated ads are the next natural step in online marketing. Don’t miss a valuable opportunity to take advantage of this new buzz-worthy form of marketing, log on today and engage your fans directly!