Sunday, April 02, 2006

Chevy gives consumers the power of advertising

Just read Mike's blog on the latest from Chevy...yikes. Chevy is hosting a tool to let consumers make their own car again. The tool rocks. Love it and am impressed by the brand interaction and empowerment it's providing consumers. However, just because you come up with a fun marketing tool doesn't mean you should use it.

When a brand decides to provide consumers with the means to possibly bash the brand in slick broadcast production form, it needs to make sure there's not a crowd already waiting to cast stones. Maybe during a time when gas prices aren't front and center...or the role of auto emissions in the environment...or the war in Iraq.... Bottom line, unless you've got a stock of brand loyalists and you are selling a product that doesn't beg controversy, in an industry not on the skids, your corporate communications folks should rethink opening such a box. The outcome isn't pretty and the negative views will spread faster than you can say viral. Such as this ad. Or this one. This one's good too. (thanks to Network-Centric Advocacy blog)

Mike asks if Chevy is naive...I agree. But come on folks, you don't need NORAD to see this response coming. I'm going to go all the way and say the move was stupid. Yes, I believe in all the fancy new media tools that give the consumer power. I think Chevy should be commended for starting a two-way communication channel with the public. But while I believe in engaging consumers in conversation, you have a brand reputation to think about!

I've already said that this tool (in itself) is amazing. I just think it would have been a better fit for brands such as Pearl Izumi or or Greenies. Brands that don't have a ready-supply of baggage to pull insults from, yet have great stories to be told from their consumers' mouths.

Though I'm sure positive user-created ads outweigh the sarcastic, negative ads, the blogs, late night talk shows and newspapers are going to have a field day with such taglines as: "Melting polar ice caps are just a Sunday drive away."

I'm going to go make a video.


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