27 February 2007

Letter in response to "Commercial Break" -- Wired

Below is a letter I wrote in response to the article at bottom (which was never published). Might be interesting in relation to magazine advertising. Viz:
I read with great interest the article about the innovative way that
Chevrolet decided to advertise its Tahoe SUV -- by trying to stimulate
lots of user generated content, some of it not so favorable. Taken to
the extreme, the logical extension of this strategy would be that
advertising should aim not so much to create a positive message as to
create buzz for its own sake. Thus, a successful advertising campaign
would simply result in an article such as the one I just read --
describing a new phenomenon, loosely associated with a product,
irrespective of its merits or demerits.

Issue 14.12 - December 2006
Commercial Break
In a risky experiment, Chevrolet asked Web users to make their own video spots
for the Tahoe. A case study in customer generated advertising.
By Frank Rose
Commercial Break
The thinking went something like this: Chevrolet is all about being
revolutionary, right? (That's debatable, but since Chevy's tagline is "An
American Revolution!" this is where all discussion starts at its ad agency.) And
if Chevrolet is revolutionary, then its advertising ought to be, too. Ergo, the
Chevy message needed to escape the tightly controlled, painstakingly monitored,
woefully predictable confines of the 30-second TV spot and roam the online
jungle. But everybody's doing that now. So, Chevy marketers thought, let's take
this thing a notch further – let's have an online contest to see who can create
the best TV ad for the new Tahoe. The wikification of the 30-second spot – what
could be more revolutionary than that?