User Generated Content- A new level.

Pepsi BrandPepsi is taking the idea of user generated content to an all new level.

User generated content is the content developed by and for internet users. Examples include blogs, wikis, podcasts and vodcasts, social networking sites, video sharing sites, and many new types of online media. Internet users are now creating their own entertainment!

Mountain Dew BrandingBy joining DEWmocracy, a new virtual online world, users can literally help to shape the new design, brand, and flavor of an all new Mountain Dew product, turning the idea of user generated content into user generated brands! Those who sign up to be a member of the virtual world will “help shape the flavor, color, name, logo, and design of the next Mountain Dew.”

This, in my opinion, is a brave and incredibly innovative initiative on Pepsi’s behalf. It is apparent that those on Pepsi’s team who creating this branding strategy have recognized the new era of marketing and advertising…giving the consumers exactly what they want, when they want it (instant gratification). And what better way than to give consumers what they want but by allowing them to create it themselves! Furthermore, those who did participate in the creation of the brand will be more inclined to remain drinkers of the product, as well as promote it, because they helped to shape the brand itself!

Not only is this user generated content by definition, it also has some viral components, as well. Because its filled with media and entertainment value (such as a movie directed by Forest Whitaker), fans of the site will be sure to talk about it with friends, family, and co-workers, enabling the viral component of this very unique campaign.

  • Viral marketing and viral advertising refer to marketing techniques that use pre-existing relationships of consumers to produce increases in brand awareness through processes such as word-of-mouth, email, etc. It encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily.

There are some who are saying that this initiative is not as innovative as it may appear, comparing DEWmocracy to a giant focus group instead of a team of branding novices. These individuals, such as those over at the daily (ad) biz, state that because those that join the virtual world will ultimately be choosing or voting for one of three pre-ap

proved colors, flavors, etc, the users are really choosing their favorite, instead of creating and molding the brand themselves.
It may be true that individuals are voting for certain aspects instead of creating the ideas itself. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a truly innovative program that is all about choice, and not merely “about selling soda.” Sure, in essence this initiative IS about selling their product, but which marketing initiative isn’t?

To read or find out more about this marketing initiative, read on:

On a related note, be sure to check out this great book I found on user generated content. Although it focuses mainly on the wiki area of the web, it still gives some very good insight on how the concept has changed the web and marketing and advertising techniques as we used to know them. Check out this book here: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything

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2 thoughts on “User Generated Content- A new level.

  1. You are right in that all marketing programs set out to sell something, but when you say that Mountain Dew is “giving the consumers exactly what they want, when they want it (instant gratification). And what better way than to give consumers what they want but by allowing them to create it themselves!” you are overselling what is really going on here.

    My point is that Pepsi is not giving consumers exactly what they want. Instead, Pepsi is letting them choose, via voting, from a roster of feasible, brand-approved flavors and brand-approved marketing graphics. Oh, and it will run as an LTO some time in 2008, with the timing up to the Brand Team. Nothing is original here, nothing is created by conusmers, they don’t really have control of the brand. It is just semi-choice of the final product from pre-approved options.

    DEWmocracy is a cool idea and all, don’t get me wrong, but a revolutionay devolving of command to consumers it is not.

    It’s just a different, albeit kind of cool, way to sell soda.

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