Presently, we are faced with the plethora of user-generated content on every social media. From YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. User-generated content, which can be simply described as any message or communication created by individuals that can be accessed by anyone (Haven et al., 2007, p. 2), has even extended itself to the advertising industry. An example of this would be the viral Mentos and Diet Coke video in 2006, which apparently generated a massive amount of sales profit for Mentos (Haven et al., 2007, p. 7)
With anyone can seemingly create advertising by themselves, then where does that leave the ad agencies? Have they conceded their status as the creatives who create the ads?
As a former ad practitioner, I can confidently say that this won’t be the case.
The thing is, as audiences change and adapt with the digital world, agencies have adapted as well. That’s the reason why we have agencies who specialise in digital advertising or traditional agencies who open up a special division for digital advertising.
Sheehan and Morrison (2009) say that agencies have to find a way to bring consumers in the process instead of the traditional ‘show and tell’ (p. 41). As agencies, we are now responsible not just for creating the advertising material, but also to find a way to direct consumers to be involved in the advertising as well. This sentiment is shared by Thomas Lyngsfeldt, who mentions how user-generated ads beat the traditional ones in his article.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for user-generated advertising, considering how rapidly technology changes each and every year.
Haven, B., Li, C., and McHarg, T., (2007) ‘Leveraging User-Generated Content’ Forrester Research, pp. 2 -11
Sheehan, K.B. and Morrison, D.K. (2009) ‘The Creativity Challenge: Media Confluence and Its Effects on the Evolving Advertising Industry’, Journal of Interactive Advertising, pp. 40 – 43