A Few More Reasons CGA is AOK

For "Listen" Chapter 4 -- "Spot On"

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In my last post, I talked about CGA's appeal as a love letter to a brand. Another obvious benefit is cost. Compared to $300,000 for an ordinary network TV spot, a CGA commercial comes in for pennies.

A lot of this has to do with production values (To see how cheesy CGA can look, go to XLNTads.com and check out their samples. These sad little videos could trigger a stampede back to Madison Avenue). But it also has to do with the nature of remuneration, and what exactly consumer ad generators are seeking.

"These people are amazing," says XLNT's Neil Perry. "We kept probing about compensation. They said, 'It's not that. It's watching it get posted and seeing how many hits it gets.' They're hungry creatives, but they're hungry in a different way. They're hungry for recognition."

Which is free. That alone should give the agency world pause. "Free" is a difficult price point to compete against.

Furthermore, even in the most dedicated ad agency, such enthusiasm is difficult to replicate. The main reason marketers have experimented with CGA so far has been to cultivate exactly such enthusiasm, turning amateur ad people into brand ambassadors, or viral vectors or birds and bees pollinating the meadows of the marketplace. Choose the metaphor you prefer.

There is no marketing message a that company itself generates with the credibility of a message from a (financially) disinterested civilian. As Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer likes to say, "Communication with the consumer is valuable. But learning how to get consumers to communicate on your behalf is priceless."

For instance, in my next post, you will be reacquainted with George Masters.
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