User Generated Ad for Australian Financial Review

Javascript site, one ad voted on out of 20 pages x 4 ads. Hat tip to AdNews, annoying they don’t link out. I had to find the Australian Financial Review “You could win Big Time” (you win a watch) link all by myself – it’s at Fame awaits an AFR reader SYDNEY: The Australian…

Javascript site, one ad voted on out of 20 pages x 4 ads.

Hat tip to AdNews, annoying they don’t link out. I had to find the Australian Financial Review “You could win Big Time” (you win a watch) link all by myself – it’s at

Fame awaits an AFR reader

SYDNEY: The Australian Financial Review is trying its hand at consumer-generated advertising, with a competition asking readers to design an ad for the national newspaper.

The competition invites AFR readers to submit ads for the AFR Summer 2008 outdoor campaign. The long-running campaign has raised a few eyebrows and attracted recognition with its use of word-plays and double entendres.

The promotion, developed in partnership by AFR ad agencies Lavender and Love Communications, will be plugged via a series of press ads within the AFR as well as banner ads across all Fairfax Business Media websites.

The winner will not only see their ad appear as part of a national outdoor campaign, they will also receive a $6,000 William Baume Collection watch. The People’s Choice winner will receive a dozen bottles of wine worth $425.

Entries to the competition, which kick off on Monday 10 September, will be judged on creativity, suitability and overall appeal. The competition runs until 31 October 2007 and readers can enter as many new ads as they like.

Judges include Michael Gill, CEO of Fairfax Business Media, Will Lavender, executive creative director of Lavender. and Siimon Reynolds, executive creative director of Love Communications.

Site is reeking of javascript. No community – it’s member-to-host. But you can vote as long as you registered. Strange how odd that feels now – in the last 2 years we’ve really settled on what is available to visitor/anonymous, what is available to registered, what is available to leaders and so. Generally, voting is available to visitors. Thanks Digg! AFR Doesn’t do that – which accounts for the fact that out of 80 ads, only one has a vote on it so far. People who created ads should’ve had colleagues all over them like a rash. Ah well, they will get a few more registered users soon – only they had a better chance by having anonymous voting (trap IP addresses, one vote per IP) and the person would go away and think about it, then come back and create content.

I can’t be stuffed registering to vote, though my favourite was Overcome Performance Anxiety by Nicoletta Chul. I wanted to email it to a friend (you can do that) but again, I had to register. Again, stuff that. I wonder why they are using this as an exercise in gaining email addresses and not one in gaining site loyalty? It was a great opportunity for AFR members to connect with each other and create dialogue – remember, the dialogue is the content – but this vote-and-leave is a shame. And wouldn’t you love to have the AFR readership as your online community, you dear darling social networkers? 😛 Ah well, baby steps, baby steps with Fairfax.

But there is something inherently wrong when you have your target demographic creating ads for your target demographic, who then vote which is the best ad for them which is then ignored (you get some wine as the People’s Choice). Because it’s a given that the ad the readers LOVE won’t win both People’s Choice and the CEO’s prize right? The one that will be shown for six months is the one that two agency guys and da boss choose. Which brings us to the whole issue of user generated content. Do I need to draw a picture where this is going? Straight to the heart of the real purpose behind user generated content, consumers choosing for themselves. I think two years ago we accepted the “you create us some content and we’ll choose what we want”. It’s a bit past all that now.

Still, baby steps, baby steps.

Disclaimer (pseudo): I once won a prize for creating the tagline for a newspaper competition (Adelaide Advertiser). I also won wine. It was lovely. It was 20 years ago. I still have the newspaper clipping in my Press Clippings scrapbook- shall I Flickr it?

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One Comment

  1. Looking at this from an advertising executive’s point of view [which I’m not, otherwise I’d have hanged myself by now], I’m saying “How can we do something that lets us use this ‘social media’ buzzword thing and appear all hip and cool and groovy but still look like we’re the ones providing The Valuable Input so we can keep charging A Lot Of Money.

    So… We get a developer to spend ages constructing a fiddly JavaScript-driven site just to view the entries — when users would be happy just to scroll down a page of images with “vote” buttons.

    We get a Panel of Big Name Judges, so we can explain how our knowledge and experience allows us to choose the one which properly reflects brand values — when, as you point out, people are quite capable of picking their own.

    Take either of those away, and there’s two less reasons for the ad agency to charge their massive fees.

    While the ad agency may well say their aim is to maximise value for the client, in practice their real agenda is to maximise what they can bill the client for Innovative New Services.

    And they get away with it because none of the executives, in the ad agency or at the client, actually use any of these new technologies themselves. Because if they did, they’d soon see through the sham.

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