Are consumer created ads old hat?

Ben has done a review of the latest "create an advert" competition over at Church of the Customer. The list of brands to jump on this bandwagon gets longer by the day and includes Heinz, Southwest Airlines and Doritos (who used it for their last Superbowl ad).

The problem is, what was different and new now feels like its old hat and deja vu. The novelty has worn off, and I’d rather watch a proper ad that is written, directed and produced by people who know what they’re doing. And it does seem that the number of people entering these things, which is about 200, means that consumers themselves are not that interested either.

Where consumer-created content does work for me is where there is a natural fit with the brand’s idea and personality. The Converse Gallery of short films fits with the creative spirit of the brand, and it strikes me that wearers of the brand have a strong emotional bond with the brand.

And I posted before on Innocent’s pinboard which updates every day with new stuff from the brand and its users. Again, there’s a good fit with the brand, which has home-made feel and a band of consumers who feel part of the innocent "family", and want to get involved.

I guess now the dust has settled on this new craze, the good old common-sense rules apply: pick a media channel that fits with your brand. The old adage of "the medium is the message" is still true.