7 posts categorized "User Generated Content"

03/03/2009 It’s All About Me

The real draw of online is narcissism. Personalization and customization just sound so much better. We count friends on Facebook, links on LinkedIn and followers on Twitter. It’s all about us, for the most part. And then, we pass things off, laugh or engage, raise money or share opinions.

Myself, I just love personalization sites. I never get tired of them and when I do, I just give them to my kids and they keep on playing with them.

Here are three that, recently, I’ve had a blast with:

Axe Hair Crisis
I’m a glutton for rejection, which is probably why I work in the creative industry. The Axe Hair Crisis site was too much to resist. Upload my picture so that 100 women I didn’t know could diss my looks? Sign me up.

This was one of the better personalization sites since it coupled my picture with video and commentary and connected everything with product. Actually, I do need that product.  Best of all, it reminded me of stories of Groucho Marx and how people used to run into him on the street and beg him to insult them. Usually he obliged. That’s what going to the Axe site felt like.


The Hero Factory
Crispin Porter & Bogusky has a fun little site that let’s you create a your own personal superhero. It’s easy, funny and clever. The best part of this is it doesn’t take very long but you get a “personalized” comic book cover. I admit I did it twice, while my kids spent hours playing around with this. There’s not much of payoff and no business angle but there is surely a brand angle for CPB.


Go Insane
Go Insane is a site for a new roller coaster in Stockholm’s Gröna Lund. The microsite uses a horror comic style but the kicker is a scream contest. They want you to make a video of how you’ll sound in the roller coaster and you can win a spot in the new commercial they’re making.

Not only does the site look great (I love that style) but it’s a great, easy to enter competition with user-generated content and a great prize. Simple, fun and creative. It really doesn’t need to be harder than that.


Anyone else playing with anything fun?

01/21/2009 A Good Online Marketing Campaign

Pepsi launched an online marketing campaign this week in time for Obama’s inauguration. The campaign, Refresh Everything, let’s people give messages and well wishes to the new president via online advertising, microsites and social media.


I found this on Yahoo! music. It was a rich media ad that let me send a message to the sites right from the banner itself. I can’t believe we don’t see more of this type of online advertising; it works so much better than the animate billboards we’re all sick of.  I may not have known exactly what I was getting into, but I was able to create and participate in the banner before clicking off of my page. Now that I created my personal message, I had to see what this was about.

You land on the Refresh Everything microsite, filled with video. There’s Eva Longoria in the corner; you have to see what she has to say. The microsite shows the TV ad (great) and has video of a symposium to refresh everything. This site is cool, but  Pepsi goes further on the social media sites.

The YouTube channel has five pages of personal videos. It’s amazing how many kids there are up there. The Tumblr site should have all of the text entries from the online ads, but I can’t find mine. Bummer.

Despite this personal set back, I love what Pepsi is doing here. Engaging online advertising and using social media sites for what they do best: content.

It’s so refreshing to see the online ad space used in this way.  Why, why aren’t other marketers doing more of this? There must be a brain cramp with agencies producing banners.

I just may have to switch from Coke.

01/16/2009 Puma Combines Fun with Business

I’m a total sucker for mashups where you upload your picture and do something silly with it. I’ve written about this before but I have a ton of fun doing this. And I’m not the only one, apparently, if you look at the success of sites like Elf Yourself and In The Doghouse.

One of the challenges with all of these is that while they may be a blast, drive engagement and get people to spend lots of time on these sites, the business benefits aren’t so clear. There were articles a while ago describing how Elf Yourself didn’t provide any business boost to Office Max (yes, Office Max is the company behind the famous elfs, although it was easy to miss).

The question with all of these is: Is it relevant to your brand and market? Yes, awareness is important but if it’s easy to forget your brand and what you offer then engagement will only get you so far. In The Doghouse was fun but the connection between Doghouse, Penny’s and diamonds was tenuous at best.

Along comes Puma with its “I Am 60” collection, highlighting its fashion over time and inviting people to go retro. They also have a mashup; you can upload your photo, change hairstyles, clothing styles and more. Here’s what I might’ve looked like in a previous age (better, worse, what do you think?). So far, pretty fun, but the kicker is about to show up in my inbox.


Once I’m done, Puma sends me my picture in a promotional e-mail and then encourages me to shop different styles/eras. They’ve firmly connected my fun engagement with what I’m really supposed to do: buy Puma gear. Hey, there are the sneakers I wore in my junior year in high school!

Seeing myself together with products in this space ties together business and fun in the best way I’ve seen for a while. Great job Puma and whatever agency was behind that. I hope we see more fun, relevance and business in this down year.

12/23/2008 Another YouTube Video Contest

Excedrin just announced the winner of its $15K Speed Challenge on YouTube. The pain relief company dipped its toe into the user generated content world by asking people to create videos about speed. I’m not sure if you got bonus points by adding something about Excedrin, but they did get 200 video entries.

The company said the campaign was a success, based on traffic to the site, according to MediaPost. The winning prize went to Hang Glider. Honestly, though, after looking through some of the videos, I think I’m in need some of that Excedrin myself. Was that the aim of the campaign? Inducing headaches?

It reminded me of a very funny spot I saw on the Onion a few weeks ago. The did a spoof on the same YouTube video contests.  Take a look and enjoy.


I wonder if I’m feeling this negative simply due to the fact that I missed this contest. I mean I HAD a speed video all ready. That $15K is nothing to sneeze at either. So here’s my belated entry: an alpine slide run with my young son down Spruce Peak at Stowe. Just have your Excedrin ready.

12/09/2008 Social Media: Obama is King of KAOS

Yesterday one of my Triibe members sent me a link to a study about Obama and his use of online and social media during the 2008 campaign. This e-paper, by Yovia founder Jalali Hartman, is titled “Obamanomics: A Study in Social Velocity.”

One of the more interesting premises is that Obama wasn’t taking his playbook from Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign; he was taking it from Stephen Colbert’s fake run for the presidency in 2007! (I think a better role for Colbert would’ve actually been Maxwell Smart instead of Steve Carell, but I digress). That campaign spawned a slew of social media activism.

Hartman points out that Obama spent less than 2% of his huge campaign war chest online, and that McCain actually outspent Obama on paid search by 22 to 1! So how did Obama do so well online?

The study identifies four key components of what they call Social Velocity:
1.    Content
2.    Connections
3.    Community
4.    Conversation

Ultimately, Obama gave up control to his advocates and let them create something unique. I think the best part in the study is describing how Obama’s camp gave every graphic, speech and video clip to a rock band to make a video and to do whatever they wanted. They carried this “no-rules” content strategy throughout the campaign.

Read the report. It’s a great lesson in social media and creating grassroots movements.

In the end, Obama embraced the KAOS of digital and gave up CONTROL. Most brands lack the cojones to do so.

10/03/2008 Using User Generated Content

I just saw this and thought it was a very smart use of user generated content (UGC). Rather than just asking people to create something to have in a gallery, Ubisoft invites people to design their own snowboard to make it part of the upcoming Sean White Snowboarding video game. Check it out at ArtOfTheRide.com.

Hats off to those companies who let the customer impact or make part of the product. It’s a great engagement viral strategy. You can bet that the winners will tell every single person they know.


09/29/2008 User Generated Journalism

Images CNN has started an interesting project called iReport. They’re looking to augment their professional journalism with citizen journalism. It’s a little different from the normal “send us in your pictures of disasters.” It also looks like the first big push from a major news outlet since the failed LA Times attempt a couple of years ago.

From a UGC and a Web 2.0 prospective, iReport has some great benefits for CNN.

It adds to their core offering – By opening this up to a wide range of people, CNN potentially has much more material to show its viewers, both online and offline.

It gives them a huge feedback group – Even if they don’t use the material, they can tap into the content generators and have them react (a big deal for TV). They did this, for example, after the debates.

It teaches people about journalism – Not only is this a great public service (check out their advice on how to create a story) that educates the public, it makes content generators more appreciative of how hard it is to create good stories.

Now, take those three things, and see if you can apply them to your company or client. If you can do that through customer participation, you should win. I hope CNN does, it’s a great idea.

I only wonder how much this costs them to do.  You can surely measure the monetary impact of participation, but it still would be fun to get an ROI check on this.

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