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DoyleBrand.com | Actor. Writer. Entrepreneur. Amateur Content Earns Praise | The Doyle Blog

People. The Web. Hollywood.

Amateur Content Earns Praise

(I first wrote this post on March 15, 2007, when it first appeared under my employer’s blog, Boomerang).

We’ve become spoiled by professional Hollywood movies, TV shows, and ads filled with stunning special effects and $500,000 crane shots. Don’t get me wrong – there are some compelling films from Tinseltown, and some neat TV shows and clever ads. But for every “good” Hollywood flick, I’ll show you 10 others that pit style over substance and insult their audience’s intelligence with formulaic, predictable and boring storylines.

Yes, HDTV is beautiful, and growing in popularity too. But I don’t care how beautiful content looks. If it doesn’t really connect with people and speak to some aspect of the human condition, it useless. It’s like eating cotton candy: tasty, but no nutrition.

Enter… the amateurs!! Amateur Web content, or user-generated media as some prefer, broke new ground in 2006. YouTube just announced its awards for the best user-generated videos of 2006, and amateur content will likely continue its strong growth in 2007. Why? Because we have a fundamental need to express ourselves, connect with others, and be acknowledged for our creations. The Web and social media like blogs give us an inexpensive way to do just that.

But corporate marketers have also realized the value of amateur content. Consider the 2007 Doritos Crash The Super Bowl ad contest. An amateur video by Dale Backus aired during the big game, marking the first time a major marketer entrusted a novice with a 30-second Super Bowl spot worth up to $2.6 million of air time.

Backus’ spot aired very well – it ranked fourth in USA TODAY’s Super Bowl Ad Meter. The production cost? $12. That’s about four bags of Doritos!! Not bad considering pro spots easily cost near $1 million to produce. Smart corporate marketers realize the power of enlisting amateur consumers to become, in essence, an extension of their marketing team.

And don’t think News Corp. and NBC’s new Web venture means the death of amateur content. The unnamed company may be more attractive to advertisers with its professional content and longer clips. But viewers have proven there’s still a place for amateur content so long as it speaks to them in a concrete way. Ultimately, consumers care more that their content is compelling, rather than who actually produced it.

Categories: User generated content
  • mitalip

    I ran into your blog through some facebook links on friend’s pages – funny you mention Doritos Crash the Superbowl. That was my campaign when I was marketing mgr at Yahoo! Video… it was a great success no doubt. But other advertisers have tried to repeat this to less than great results.
    Actually the real calc you should do for cost to produce this ad would include what Yahoo made as our production / media cost for running the campaign also. You could argue that it took a large consumer campaign to get one great ad… (it did!) But even then the total cost pales in comparison to the production cost of one superbowl ad spot…