Consumer-generated ads – best way to sell your brand?


If you were like me on Sunday you had settled in for a night of Oscars. I also had my computer in my lap which came in handy during one of the commercial breaks where Dove asked viewers to choose their favorite consumer generated spot for the new Dove Cream Oil. I immediately voted online and hoped that my favorite of the options given, Speedy Spa, would win.

These ads got me thinking though about consumer generated material. What is the point of giving real people control over the message? Do we believe that real people will do a better job than clients or agencies? That they would be honest and that they would break rules and generally have more fun telling stories that might even sell something along the way?

Well, a look at the two woman-made spots pitching Dove cream oil proves that we’re all brainwashed on formulaic advertising. Two pretty young things (remember Dove, the brand that blessed regular-sized gals in their undies?) parrot the “feel good” benefits of Dove, complete with a product demo and sign off. Surprising copy? Clever visuals? Nope, shower scene meets happy talk. Perhaps consumer-generated ads need their own reinvention. So far, they’ve only proved that either the spots that survive the approval sieve are the ones the establishment would have done anyway…or else we are all like trained seals who can recite product creative strategies that are pounded into us. Perhaps they could take a cue from another Oscar winner, Juno’s Diablo Cody, who showed us that the unexpected can be inspiring and successful.

After looking at some of the other 1272 entries that were submitted to Dove and watching the 5 finalists, I personally would have preferred some of the more real life stories. They would have felt more real for the brand.

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January 30, 2023
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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