“The purpose of a dotcom,” the old joke goes, “is to transfer money from venture capitalists to advertising agencies.” It now appears that the mission of the ad agencies themselves is changing. Significantly. And quickly.
Customers are now starting to own the creative.
The most recent manifestation of this comes from the ConverseGallery. (Although Converse is now owned by Nike, the company seems to still have some soul.) Instead of creating a limited number of one-size-fits-all ads, Converse has invited the rabid hordes of Chuck Taylor fans to make their ads for them. (n.b. per Random|Culture’s point below, the ads on the site are definitely high-end, and made by pros…would be interesting to see the more “amateurish” ones that didn’t make the cut.)
I have to say…the spots are brilliant, as is the process they have put into place.
– Set up the (loose) structure for the campaign (“nothing obscene, but pretty much everything else is ok.”)
– Predict where there might be an issue, and cut it off at the pass. In this case, Converse obviously realized that music licensing could be a huge can of worms. So they obtained the rights to 100 pieces of music from a wide variety of genres that the filmmakers could use without worrying about licensing.
– Announce the campaign
– Reap the rewards
A few suggestions I would have for them, however:
1) The spots are brilliant, and customers may want to talk about them. There is no mechanism in place for them to do so. No blog, no forum, no discussion group. No chance for online watercooler conversation of the ads.
Easy enough to fix. Here you go, Converse. Enjoy!
2) The spots vary in theme and feel, as does the customer base. I would love a way to find out what spots others (in particular, others similar to myself) are really enjoying. A social mechanism for ranking the ads that would be most relevant to an individual would be sweet (think Netflix, think Amazon).
3) Let us see the back catalog! You’ve picked ~30 out of, what, 500 submissions? Let us see the others, too. We’ll let you know which ones are the good ones.
Although not the first (BushIn30Seconds comes to mind), this is a still a great effort, and a great way for customers to really have a converse-ation, dontcha think?
(Hat tip: Church of the Customer)
Others talking about this:
Random|Culture: “Is this deceptive marketing? These are not ‘everyday’ consumers as they would have us believe. And the Boston Herald article clearly states that they ‘solicited’ filmmakers.”
AdRants: “Whether the program brings Converse closer to its customers, gives between work filmmakers something to do or simply gets the shoemaker a lot of creative for free is up for discussion.”
Harriet Potter: “Converse emailed. yeah, didn’t make it.”
AdLand: “Films have been created by everyone: yes, from people who have craft skills, but also from 15 year old kids who have done stuff on their computer. It’s open to all.” (from the comments, apparently from the Converse ad agency, confirming that these are not just pros doing the ads)