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The Volkswagon Effect

Now that we’ve given a name to it, I’m starting to see Gen C everywhere – a bit like the way you see VWs on every corner when you own one. Converse have been running ads made by their customers by creating a film competition that people around the world enter. Check it out. It’s really, really good. So has Sony (see this amazing ad made by an 18 year old volunteer). So has L’Oreal.

The examples are included in a terrific piece on the IT web site ZDNet which speculates on the demise of advertising agencies if this trend continues. “Can we produce work like that? I don't know. But I'm counting on the kid in his bedroom who has a really funny idea.” says one guy from McCann Ericsson. I guess the future belongs to the agencies that nurture rather than resist the trend toward user generated content.

On the local front, Sorted, the site for the Retirement Commission has been running a reasonably effective campaign using fictitious characters in real retirement quandaries.  What’s more interesting is that the campaign has caused quite a stir on the TradeMe community forum.

Sorted posed a character called Steph on the TradeMe community site as if she was a real person, asking for advice about budgeting. Initially the community flamed her and the Commission for imposing a fictitious character on them all (they are a sad bunch, really) but now she’s been adopted as one of their own and her case has become a source of genuine debate about retirement and budgeting. Some of the comments are hilarious. They advise stripping, prostitution, divorce, suicide. Steph has started a life of her own. Or at least that how it feels. Nice one, Sorted.

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