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Consumer Generated Headlines. The end of someone else's dayjob?

If you’ve ever wondered how it feels when thousands and thousands of people read your headline… don’t write for this blog :-) go to Kansas City. To advertise it’s new Angus Burger, McDonald’s is running a digital billboard campaign by that lets regular burger fans become advertising superstars – for a minute or two.

The headlines are recorded on a website honorangus.com and then used to update the headlines on the digital billboard screens. The creative brief is straightforward and simple: “You have two words!” Looking at the results (original video on Creativity Online here), two things become obvious. First: writing a good headline is hard. Too hard for most, it seems. Second: if your campaign creates thousands of ambassadors, the creative quality resides in this idea, not in a single headline. So watch out copywriters, you’re still on orange alert.

All buzz and giddy participation happiness aside, though, I wonder what the graveyard of “monitored” headlines looks like. The campaign sure looks like an open invitation to the crowds of anti-fast-food activisist that have sponsored the successes of “Fast Food Nation” or “Supersize Me.” There is probably a lot of burger hating creativity happening right now, and it’s definitely not up on the billborads. What will McDonald’s marketing do with it. Ignore? Delete? Engage?  After the 2007 Chevy Tahoe campaign, that made user generated advertising notorious for the first time, brands can no longer approach this naively.

So, if campaign agency Bernstein-Rein is serious about “moving beyond advertising” to establish “meaningful relationships” between brands and people, that relationship can’t just be meaningful for the brand fans? Or can it? I sometimes have a feeling that it is slightly unfair to demand all-open communication from brands. There will always be people who just love telling you how much they don’t like you. And that’s aok. But the brand should be allowed to listen, talk, or just walk away.

For the communication companies, this creates the opportunity of taking care of brand communication on many levels. If done right, there should be just as much work as there used to be. Same same, but different.

2 Responses to “Consumer Generated Headlines. The end of someone else's dayjob?”
  1. Меня это не беспокоит.

  2. Jan says:

    Ka-awesome-blamm idea! This must be one of the smartest things I have seen in ages… even burger-hating-slogans up there will work this project all right. It’s clever as it gets.

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