Ad Agencies Really Hate User-Generated AdvertisingMay 26th, 2007 | By James Lewin | Category: Citizen Media, Digital Video Downloads, Internet TV, Strange, Video
The New York Times has published an article that looks at costs of running contests for user-generated advertising, suggesting that it’s actually more costly than traditional advertising, and that most amateur ads are terrible.
“That‚Äôs kind of a popular misnomer that, somehow, it‚Äôs cheaper to do this,” said David Ciesinski, vice president for Heinz Ketchup. “On the contrary, it‚Äôs at least as expensive, if not more.”
Heinz has hired an outside promotions firm to watch all the videos and forward questionable ones to Heinz employees in its Pittsburgh headquarters. So far, they have rejected more than 370 submissions (at least 320 remain posted on YouTube). The gross-out factor is not among their screening criteria ‚Äî rather, most of the failed entries were longer than the 30-second time limit, entirely irrelevant to the contest or included songs protected by copyright. Some of the videos displayed brands other than Heinz (a big no-no) or were rejected because ‚Äúthey wouldn‚Äôt be appropriate to show mom,‚Äù Mr. Ciesinski said.
Advertising executives who have seen some of the entries say that Heinz may be hard pressed to find any that it is proud to run on television in September.
They Are Just So Bad!
“These are just so bad,” said Linda Kaplan Thaler, chief executive of the Kaplan Thaler Group, an advertising agency in New York that is not involved with Heinz‚Äôs contest.
One of the most viewed Heinz videos ‚Äî seen, at last count, more than 12,800 times ‚Äî ends with a close-up of a mouth with crooked, yellowed teeth. When Ms. Kaplan Thaler saw it, she wondered, “Were his teeth the result of, maybe, too much Heinz?”
Scott Goodson, chief executive of StrawberryFrog, an advertising agency based in New York, said the shortcomings of contest entries ‚Äî not just those for Heinz ‚Äî refuted predictions that user-generated content might siphon work away from agencies. “This Heinz campaign, much like the same ones done by Doritos, Converse and Dodge, only goes to show how hard it is to do great advertising,” he said.
Heinz’s Contest Announcement:
Here’s an example of the type of ads people have created: