"Doritos got a thousand submissions for its Super Bowl talent contest, and all the winner got was nominal prize money and a trip to Miami. Come on! Where's the million bucks? Here's the thing: the sense of well-being and possibility that this faux democratization creates causes us to ignore the facts that while we do the work, the rich rake in the fruits of our labor... The new opiate of the masses is the illusion of participation in the culture, even as the underpinnings of a good life -- money, mostly -- are stripped away and handed to the filthy rich. It's a hell of a dynamic."
Forgive me for yanking a marketing lesson from the pages of Esquire magazine, but Mr. Granger's editorial in the April issue does a good job of highlighting the sad reality that the current spate of user generated ad competitions isn't necessarily the celebration of the empowered consumer that many pundits believe it to be. It's just Madison Avenue's ploy to seize back the reigns of control.
While it may be working for some brands, for now, it's about as authentic as a flog.