Does User Generated Advertising Start Here?
This video raises so many questions – the first one being is it really user generated? Trader Joe’s is certainly the kind of brand that could inspire such a high form of praise from its customers – their products, the in-store experience, as a regular there I’ve always found everything about the place to be exceptional. But this is still really slick. The whole trying-to-make-it-look-like-it-was-filmed-on-a-Treo-even-though-it-clearly-wasn’t-filmed-on-a-Treo thing could be a giveaway, or not.
The real questions start when you assume it is genuine. What then? This is a clear departure from viral marketing instigated by the company that stands to benefit from it, and the rules are very different. Trader Joe’s, or anyone else for that matter, wouldn’t produce an ad where the narrative was quite so focused on the honestly come-by experience of a single fan. But that is it’s genius. Is there a point in the future when non-user generated ads will no longer be credible? If this catches on, shouting too much about your own company might become socially unacceptable, like creating your own glowing reference on Wikipedia.
We are already at the point where companies are under more pressure than ever to be transparent, create real meaning rather than empty slogans, and genuinely add value to the customers lives with their ad campaigns. Is the next logical step, or perhaps the step after that, the death of the company-generated advert? It sounds ridiculous now of course, but then again so did user generated music distribution.