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Customer-generated advertising at the Superbowl and beyond

February 3, 2009

picture-2The Pittsburgh Steelers were the winners at the end of a nail-biting game.

But another big winner was Joe Herbert who created the commercial “Free Doritos!”.

Not only did Joe win $1 million in the user-generated contest “Crash the Superbowl” by the Doritos company, his commerical was also voted the best by USA Today and other commentators.

You can watch it here:

I’m not sure if Joe is big Doritos lover or if it was the $1 million inspired him.

But Carl Willet loved the supermarket chain Trader Joe’s enough to write a song and make a video about it:”If I Made a Commerical for Trader Joe’s“.

Bloggers like David Armano and Nancy White have been praising the video as an example of a company fostering a great customer experience and the network effect endemic to social media sharing. Armano urges Trader Joe’s to embrace this spontaneously-generated content. I think it’s interesting how for-profit companies are exploring how to cultivate content from their consumers. At the end of the day, it’s cheaper and often more creative.

What lessons are here for non-profit organizations? One is being open to constituent-generated content. Another is that some sort of reward is useful in inspiring content. While many nonprofits don’t have $1 million to spare, some sort of recognition or in-kind gift could go a long way. After all this type of media celebrates the company, issue or product, but it also raises the profile of the creator. I’m curious how Willet has capitalized on 270,000 views of his video on YouTube. For constituents of nonprofits, this translates into leadership development. But the final lesson, it seems to me, is that these videos are FUN! I enjoy watching them and I want to share them. It seems that many advocacy groups could explore what this fact could mean to their work.

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