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Sure, it's "user generated" - but who's the user?

Ben McConnell over at the Church has a great post today about the CGM craze that has Madison Avenue salivating. I'm not going to go all Bob Garfield on y'all and critique the ads -- or even Andrew Keen, who says they should leave it to the professionals) -- because the quality of the ad isn't what's in question.

The concept or notion of CGM is that people create unfiltered content based on their passion for (or against) something. It's not about winning a $10,000 booty or fame, but about enthusiasts embracing your brand. Ad agencies don't and can't get that because you can't measure passion by target audience or in 30 second spots.

The Doritos ad illustrates my point: When your Superbowl commercial contest winner was an Ad guy, whose "finalist" status was approved by Ad folks and voted on by what amount to online focus groups (a la American Idol) then it really doesn't count as CGM. I'm sure the next step is for this to come full circle, where ad folks will be selling the notion that all advertising created on Madison Avenue is CGM ("See? Because when you break it down we're consumers too!") -- but with the filters of the agency, research, focus groups, budgets and clients in the way.


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