Crest calls for slogan ideas on YouTube. Procter & Gamble's Crest Whitening Expressions brand toothpaste has been pegged to Emeril Lagasse's trademark, "Bam!" since 2003. But with the introduction of the brand's newest flavor, Wintergreen Ice, Crest is looking to YouTube fans to come up with a new catch phrase.
I understand that innovative ideas have the ability to emerge in the most unlikely of places. Personally, I don't think I am a big fan of the "ideas by committee" theory. Especially when it has the potential to make those that make a living off of creating ideas, seem inept. Then again, I also think it depends ou the creator's (on the ad agency side) intention. Some agencies use this method of user generated content as a way to create immersion, interaction and communication with a particular brand. In today's immensely competitive consumer landscape, it requires more than blanket messaging which most likely falls on deaf ears. Today's consumers require pampering and an intimate invitation to feel, smell, and taste a brands true essence. They no longer solely seek out the functional benefits of products, they also desire emotional satisfaction from the brand. Creating this brand satisfaction and then transforming consumers into participants or advocates is the responsibility we as Advertisers have been tasked with achieving for our clients' sake. In this case, such a consumer contest can prove to be both effective in creating new ideas for campaigns as well as inviting people to gain first hand experience with a brand.
As I always do, let's play devil's advocate. Has the so called infinitely deep well of fresh ideas began to run dry within the walls of Account Planning and Creative departments across America? It seems as if such methods of creating a new "catch phrase" should be left up to the professionals. Are we truly conformable with the possibility of a 14 year old high school frosh developing the next catch phrase for a major brand which may have years and years of shelf life? As Lewis Black states on his show "Root of All Evil," this is my ripple effect.. We (advertisers) create a contest that challenges anybody to create their own commercial for a brand, product or service. Someone decides that wouldn't it be great is they simply show 1 minute and 35 seconds of their baby laughing loudly while holding a puppy and titling the video "Britney Spears gets naked," then at the end of the "fo-mmercial" they tag it with 2 seconds of the brand name, since after-all it is a contest about making the brand the star. The video within one day, quickly gets to 10 million views on YouTube, MySpace, Yahoo! and numerous other video hosting sites. Within one week, 100 million views, then soon after is announced the unanimous winner of the video contest and has generated viewer ratings beyond belief for nearly zero cost to the advertiser. Wanting to get in on the gravy train, more and more companies are commanding their ad agency to follow the exact same strategy, creating a culture of unmotivated and uneducated advertising professionals fishing for ideas among the masses. Then someone comes up with the biggest idea of them all, "Why waste money on the production cost of expensive non-effective and traditional TV commercials? We should run user generated videos on TV, all the time!" So it happens, the death of the TV commercial as we know it, and the birth of brainless idiots jumping off rooftops and shooting bottle rockets out of their hind parts in order to possibly land their commercial on TV. Careful planning, strategy development and creative concepting are dead, random and talentless stars are born ----Oh wait, hasn't this already happened?
I'm nowhere near ready to admit such a disastrous event had already taken place, but my industry of talented and bright minds should be weary and educated before sourcing the great vast sea of people creating content. We have to be creators of our own ideas and regulators of everyone else's.