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Is Branded Content Best Produced By Amateurs?

This Halloween saw Instagram’s new video channel which created a real of user-generated content relative to the holiday. The content ranges from funny to clever and even had cases of beautiful artwork. As advertising moves forward, can similar ideas be replicated to in essence, look to the viewers themselves to generate their entertainment instead of looking to professionals to do the job.

Certainly, some aspects of this argument point towards “yes.” Looking at the digital purchasing cycle, the most trusted source of information is impartial customer reviews and social commentary. People have become very adept at harnessing the information available to make smarter purchasing choices. In addition, marketing campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge succeeded because they allowed individuals to propel it forward. Finally, with the emergence of social media ‘stars’ it is evident that amateurs are pushing the limits and content for emerging technologies (see GoPro’s viral success).

Perhaps where this fails is the ability to hold one’s attention for longer than the 3 second Instagram video. There is no doubting the success of professionals in the making of Super Bowl commercials. If attention cannot be held, an issue arises when viewers want to spend more and more time with content in order to gather as much information as possible.

James Surowiecki’s argues in his book “The Wisdom Of Crowds” that group-think only works under the following conditions:

1) Each person should have private information,

2) Peoples’ opinions aren’t determined by the opinions those around them

3) People are able to specialize with private knowledge.

Social media is often an information cascade whereby people observe the actions of others and engage in similar activities even when other options may be more desirable. Certainly, a combination of both provides the most accurate purchasing information; too often is the discussion binary and not focusing on a mix of all options.


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December 2015