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Not Surprised

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From the Wall Street Journal’s review of the Super Bowl ads (subscription required):

In the latest example of how the user-generated content trend has swept Madison Avenue, Doritos revealed the winner publicly only when the ad aired. The high quality of the spot, featuring a guy getting into a car accident, had some on Madison Avenue a bit nervous. “It’s kind of scary that a consumer can come up with stuff that good,” says Simeon Roane, executive creative director at the New York office of Publicis USA, a unit of Publicis Groupe.

Doritos seemed to agree. Yesterday, the company announced that the top five finalists in the contest would run on national television through March. The company also decided at the last moment to air the runner-up in the contest — a funny ad showing a supermarket checkout girl — during the Super Bowl broadcast.

Advertising, like journalism, is a craft, not a profession, and advertising execs, like journalists, has to figure out that distributed across the population are some extraordinary talents who could easily do what they do and sometimes choose to do so for free.

The costs to entry are much higher for advertising than journalism, though, and thus advertising execs are not nearly as imperiled as journalists by the rise of distributed networks of independents.  Still, every producer of consumer goods has to be asking themselves this morning why they have been paying all that money for ads that haven’t connected.


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