Home > campaign analysis, crisis in ad-land, experimental marketing, user-created content > • After reaching an audience of tens in Second Life, Coke expands its social marketing plans.

• After reaching an audience of tens in Second Life, Coke expands its social marketing plans.

Now, can anyone see a problem with consumers making their own ads?

Now, can anyone see a problem with consumers making their own ads?

The World Advertising Research Center (WARC) reports that Coca-Cola is stepping up its social marketing.

Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, plans to increase its use of social media around the world, as it seeks to put consumers “at the heart” of its business, according to Jonathan Mildenhall, the company’s vp of global advertising strategy and creative excellence.

Just what, exactly, is the “heart” of Coke’s business? Will they be bringing in consumers to bottle the product in their plants? Invite them to sit in on strategy sessions? Put them in scuba outfits and dump them in tanks of the secret formula?

The only thing the article really mentions is getting consumers to create their own commercials.

Now that’s a good idea. Providing you’re willing to risk time and money on intricate legal matters.

It’s a “breeding tank for copyright infringement,” says Douglas Wood, an attorney who works with such issues in New York. Other lawyers are even more adamant that the risks outweigh any questionable benefits and advise clients not to do it.

In an article titled “Consumer-Created Ads Cause Grief for Companies,” Law.com lists a number of potential dangers including:

  • copyright infringement
  • defamation
  • false advertising claims
  • brand damage.

Last year, Subway sandwich cited consumer-generated video clips sponsered by a Quizno’s contest to sue their rival for false advertising.

The entire exercise also requires extensive oversight as hundreds or even thousands of videos must be watched and examined for any trouble spots.

Ah, but then there are the rewards, which are…uh. Well, I guess you end up with between a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand already-existing customers who are now somewhat more brand loyal. Well, maybe not those whose entries aren’t chosen. So — I guess you have one already-existing customer who is more brand loyal.

Good call.

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