I'm in the middle of reading Citizen Marketers, Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba's new book about content creators unaffiliated with a company and how they're becoming a powerful force, and noticed that so far the book has focused on the positives of understanding these folks. But what, I wondered, are the dangers? Well, here's one. The company in question is Lego.
The links to the fake ads seem to be gone; they showed disaster scenes (like the 9/11 thumbnail that you can see in the Adrants article) with the Lego logo and the tagline, "Rebuild it." (There was a post-tsunami devastationp shot in one of the others.)
Pretty tasteless. In this case the content creators were actually agency employees, though they were working on their own. But it does raise an interesting point. Fans of a product or company who go out and create web sites, videos, and the like about those products and companies are doing so for their own enjoyment. Generally, they love the product and want to promote it.
But their ideas of how to approach that task may differ radically from the company's ideas. Or they may actually want to make fun of an ad campaign or a brand.
What's a marketer to do? I'm not sure. Yes, you can try to crack down on all of this, but that's likely to just create an impression that you're overly controlling.
Just a reminder that when consumers feel ownership of your brand - and they've inexpensive tools to create materials featuring your brand - unexpected things can happen. I haven't finished McConnell and Huba's book yet, and I'm curious to see what they have to say how corporate marketers should engage citizen marketers. (I'll write more about the book when I'm done with it.)