Letting your Community Create your Advertisements

A few months ago, I covered Dell’s Green campaign called “Regeneration” which allowed community members to create their own art themed “green” and they were then given the opportunity to vote on which one was best. They turned over much of the marketing control to the community, while they become more of an enablement platform, rather than ‘forcing’ a message down their throat.

They’ve taken the next step by assembling some of the winning drawings and created an emebeddable flash player that shows the art work being created in time-lapse style. Yes, you can see how the engaged community of artists hand drew each of these ads. As I understand it, they are not paid, this is voluntary, in hopes of some prizes, and perhaps more importantly, recognition.

Now you should be sharing this with your creative team (see the initial case study) and start to think about how your brand can start listening to your customers –and allowing them to tell your story, rather than you always having to use a megaphone.

What could Dell do to take this to the next level? Integrate these final drawings in many different areas of the Regeneration campaigns, including TV ads, theme designed laptops and computers, and ultimately having a community created marketing department that spreads to other product lines.

James Gross of Federated Media, a social media interactive and conversational agency, had initially posted this on his blog.

20 Replies to “Letting your Community Create your Advertisements”

  1. Wow, awesome community driven content! How is Dell using the consumer feedback to change or redirect policy concerning customer support and or issues a consumer might be having? Is this particular medium for advertising/marketing alone?

    Great post, thought provoking.


  2. What is this saying about what Dell believes and does this match with what Dell actually believes. Not criticisms, genuine questions. Really important for authenticity.

  3. David brings up valid questions. While this campaign is quite creative and engaging, is this really Dell? Is Dell now the green/sustainable/regenerative community-driven computer company? Is that why we should buy a Dell?

  4. Agreed all, Dell must now put their money where they’ve put their mouth. Brand aspirations are one thing, but how are they changing their products and digital footprint?

    …let’s hope they respond.

  5. we had this year the Green IT Competition at IBM.
    hundreds of videos have been submitted by employees showing their commitments/green habits/green innovation. It lasted for around 3 months and we got to rate, comment,promote the videos. Absolutely brilliant idea for raising awareness on this cause and getting employees involved.

    you can see some below, best 10 went to youtube and first made it on TV:

  6. User generated content is one thing. I believe the next step in ultra-relevant advertising is allowing individuals to select their own ads which they would like to see displayed. To your point, instead of companies using a megaphone to jam advertisements, let the users select which type of ads they would like to see. This gives the person a sense of empowerment and interest. The question becomes would this increase click through rates?… http://www.readtheanswer.com/index.php?RTA=web2


  7. Thanks for your feedback, Jeremiah. Really enjoyed the post. I™m the Environmental Liaison for Dell and also one of the chief bloggers at ReGeneration.org. From the looks of the comments, your readers are interested in seeing how we plan on making all the great “green” ideas we’ve been getting from our customers a reality. To that end, there will always be a lot left to do, but I™m proud to say that we™ve made some tremendous strides. We have the best recycling program in the business. Our campus is being run completely on green energy. We are giving our customers the opportunity to offset their purchases by contributing to our forest stewardship programs, “Plant a Tree for Me and “Plant a Forest for Me.” Our units are getting more and more energy efficient.

    And we have only just begun. Most of what we have done (and have left to do) is inspired by the ideas we receive from the community. Keep them coming. We are listening.

    Thank you,
    Todd Dwyer
    Dell Community Liaison – Environment

  8. I think it™s interesting to note that the video showcases the winners of the second contest, not the first one. I hadn™t realized until I saw the first contest winners and noticed that they weren™t the same as those in the video. This second contest™s theme is What will a green future look like? And how can we go green now?

    PS. Sorry for reposting. I managed to comment on your case-study post.

  9. This is great stuff! Good to see Dell is letting the community get involved. More companies need to do this…it promotes conversation and possible interest in the brand that may not have existed otherwise.

  10. I love to see how companies are using contests to get involvement from cutomers. Dell shows how a big company can be receptive and reactive to in a creative way.

    I really belive that this is only the beggining of the use of social software to connect enterprises with customers. Back in 2004, I has the priviledge in b-school to be in C.K. Prahalad class when he come up with the new business concept of co-creation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-creation).

    I was cautivated and I loved the idea from day one, I guess management gurus has this kind of convincing powers. Now in 2008, I can see how over these years, Prahalad’s vision is taking place with the extensive use of social software. First as marketing tool and I’m sure that pretty soon as powerful designing tool for better products and services. The future of social network software just started for good.

    Luis Carbajo
    VP Business Development

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