In chapter five Mathieson discusses the advantages and potential pitfalls of user-generated content. Using examples such as Heinz Ketchup’s Top This campaign and Coca Cola’s “Essence of Coke”, a compelling argument to the efficacy of allowing consumers to create content is made.
Embrace Risk, But Ensure Reward
Encourage users to participate in content generation, however make sure that safeguards are in place to protect brand reputation. Mathieson uses the example of Chevrolet’s UCG website meant to promote the Chevy Tahoe. Users were allowed to create the commentary for a short commercial. The commercials were then open to all viewers. Hilarity ensued as rogue users created anti-suv clips (click here to jump to a consumerist.com article about this, replete with the original parody ad vids)
A more effective campaign was employed by Doritos, named “Free Doritos”. Users were encouraged to create commercials, which were then carefully vetted before receiving online showtime. Here's the 2009 winning ad
What would incentivize you to participate in one of these contests, other than money (you greedy scoundrels!)
It’s Not Consumer-Created If It Comes From A Pro
When allowing open, public participation in a UCG campaign, professional consumers (artist, videographers, production specialists) can essentially usurp these campaigns, which may be construed as unfair to the average consumer.
In your opinion, does professional involvement serve to motivate or discourage amateur participation?
Don’t Think User-Generated, Think User-Personalized
By narrowing the parameters in which content is generated, it becomes more of a personalization process. Mathieson uses the example of Jones Soda allowing users to create custom soda labels to order, and submitting pictures that may be used as a label for one of their products.
If you could personalize any product, what would it be?