Mack Collier, writing at BeyondMadisonAvenue has declared the UpYourBudget blog blitz the “campaign of the year:”
But there’s another reason to sing the praises of Budget’s campaign. And we see it everyday.
Many advertisers portray their customers as idiots. The examples come to our mind early and often. Maybe it’s the guy that gets stuck/locked in an air vent chasing a credit card bill. Or maybe it’s the father that tells his family to call him on their cell phones, then realizes that no one in the family actually has a cell phone. Kodak engaging in assvertising? The fat idiot in the Capital One commercials that never can figure out that ‘the answer’s always NO’?
Budget’s Up Your Budget campaign was so significant because it totally reversed this trend. Budget made their customers partners in spreading their message. Basically, they told bloggers “Here’s what we are doing, here’s why we think you should care. If you agree that what we are doing is interesting, please help spread our message.”
What Budget did, in a year where many companies told their customers that they were too stupid to realize that they thought of them as idiots, was tell their customers that they looked at them as equals. And furthermore, were going to trust them to help spread their message for their company.
Congratulations to BL Ochman and Komra Moriko who conceived the campaign. And congratulations to the couple of hundred blogads sellers who provided the commercial platform that made the campaign such a success.
More background on the campaign here and here and here.
Mack put it well. Smart advertisers understand blog readers as actors rather than audience.
The industry is slowly evolving. Most of the best blogad campaigns, like UpyourBudget, have at least one blogger involved in the process, either as the buyer or the creator or the designer. (For example, this was also the case with the award winning Audi A3 blogad campaign, quaterbacked by blogger Brian Clark.) We’ll see more and more of these “blogger conceived” blogads as blogging grows, as bloggers advance in their organizations AND as the folks who are doing cutting edge work today get recognized and recruited into more campaigns. These are the folks who see the new dimension of the “actors not audience” paradigm shift — everyone else doesn’t yet really have the intellectual or emotional vocabulary to really understand what’s happening.
The tradititional advertising model — and the publishing industry it piggybacks — treated readers/consumers as passive recipients of information. Like blogging, UpyourBudget treats the public as participants, as co-conspirators, as actors not audience.
Advertising on TV or print or radio has always been a one-way street. Unfortunately, the “we talk you listen” mentality still rules online, where it’s even more embarrassingly threadbare compared to the riches of the giant, rich social fabric being spun out hourly. Sadly, though called “interactive” today’s online advertising offers little more real interaction than the 70s video-game Pong. It’s all pretty mechanical and two dimensional.
Advertisers still view online communities almost exclusively as mere buckets of eyeballs. But as people grow more adept in their online avatars (whether blog or game identities), social networks are mutating and multiplying. To keep pace, online advertising excellence will depend on a company’s willingness to catalyze, engage and/or harmonize with online social networks.
I’m also thinking about places like Threadless, where the community seamlessly creates the product, and Myspace, where the community forms around products, and Craigslist, where the community inhabits the product and vice versa. These communities have formed organically. They do NOT prove the success of communal marketing because there are far more failures in the same spaces than successes. (On the contrary, they are the exceptions that prove the rule that most communities fail to flourish; for every 1 New York City, there are 100 Syracuses and 10,000 Nyacks.)
More thoughts on this to come…