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Consumer generated advertising refers to advertising on consumer generated media. This term is generally used to refer to sponsored content on blogs, wikis, forums, social networking web sites and individual Web sites. This sponsored content is also known as sponsored posts, paid posts or sponsored reviews. The content includes links that point to the home page or specific product pages of the website of the sponsor. Examples include Diet Coke and Mentos videos,the I've Got a Crush On Obama video, and Star Wars fan films.
The practice of consumer-generated marketing has been in use for several years with the emergence of communal forms of information sharing including weblogs, online message boards, podcasts, interactive broadband TV, and other new media that has been adopted by consumers at the grass roots level to establish community forums for discussing their customer experiences.
Consumer-generated marketing is not the same as viral marketing or word of mouth advertising, however, the result of it achieves a high level of publicity within high relevance communities. These communities are extremely critical to the success of a brand, and normally follow the 80/20 rule, where 20% of the brand's customers account for 80% of its sales. The very act of reaching out to consumers to invite them in as co-collaborators and co-creatives, is a fundamental component of the marketing campaign. The construct naturally lends itself to other consumer-marketing activities, like "communal branding" and "communal research."
Sponsored posts have been defined as the promoted entries or posts which contain links that point to a webpage or specific product pages of the website of the sponsor for which the creator of the content receives compensation in the form of money, products, services or in other ways. As opposed to the graphical ads (in the form of banners or buttons), which have been around on websites for quite some time, the sponsored content may be in the form of feedback, reviews, opinion, videos or other content. Forrester Research uses the term sponsored conversation which refers to sponsored conversation which involves payment to bloggers and other consumers who generate the advertising, to create transparent and genuine content about the brand.
Communal marketing refers to a marketing practice that incorporates public involvement in the development of an advertising/marketing campaign. Such a campaign invites consumers to share their ideas or express their articulation of what the brand means to them through their own personal stories, with the use of print media, film or audio. The resulting consumer-generated content is then incorporated into the campaign. Finally, the result of this collaboration is showcased, often in a cross-media campaign, to invite the extended community of like-minded individuals to share in the results, thereby creating a communal bond between the "brand champions as advertisers" and other individuals who have a natural affinity with what the brand has to offer. The result provides the brand with a way to create a deeper connection with their core market, while also opening up new pathways to extend the relationship to new customers.
Anytime a brand reaches out to its audience to invite them in to become co-collaborators in the development of an advertising campaign, they are participating in a "communal branding" effort. Whenever marketing decisions are the result of communing with the brand's audience to help drive the development of a campaign, they are engaging in "communal research." For example, Peter Jackson, in the making of The Lord of the Rings, reached out to loyal followers of the book to help weigh in on some major directorial decisions.
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So far, Mr. Levinson, a college dropout with dozens of failed jobs on his résumé, has won 11 contests — earning more than $200,000 in money and prizes. His success has made him into the digital age version of Evelyn Ryan, the woman from Defiance, Ohio, who supported her family by winning commercial jingle contests in the 1950s and ’60s.
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