Will Volvic’s request for consumer content erupt?

Volvic mineral water has joined the long line of brands trying to get us to create and share content. The brand is asking people to enter a contest by "Submitting a photo that they feel most strongly expresses the 'Volcanicity'brand idea", according to Marketing.

Hmmm. I'm not sure there is going to be an eruption of people wanting to "form an ongoing team of social media brand advocates called Team Volcanicity", as the campaign sets out to do. Here's why.

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1. Most consumers want to consume content from brands, not create it

Only 5% of social media users can be bothered to create content for brands. People want to consume content, get offers, possibly comment or like on stuff, as shown by the research we did last year with UK and US consumers. This is 6 times lower than what marketing directors think, having bought the idea pitched by social media agencies that consumers want "a 2-way conversation" with brands. 

One indicator that Volvic is no exception to this is the very low % of people interacting with Volvic's facebook page. It has 39,306 likes. But only 78 people or 0.2% are "talking about this" (a measure of how many people are interacting by liking content, commenting etc.). That is really low. The average for the UK's top 10 brands we estimate at 1%.

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2. Involvement needs WOW content x ease of entry

 To have any chance of getting consumer involvement of any kind you need a wow idea, and ease of entry. The Volvic contest offers a "state of the art camera" and "access to the hottest festivals", which is OK I guess, but not really wow. And as mentioned above, entry needs you to take and upload a photo inspired by the brand idea of Volcanicity. And I would expect that the number of people ready to do this to be only in the hundreds.

I've posted here on Carling's "Be the Coach" campaign, that got 11 million entries, through a wow offer (pick the team for your fave soccer club) and ease of entry (vote via SMS).  

3. Most brands have users, not "fans"

Jon Marchant, brand manager at Volvic, described the campaign in Marketing as "the first time we've reached out to our fans in this way". I find it hard to believe that there are many "fans" of Volvic mineral water. There are plenty of brand users. There are people who like it, and some maybe even prefer it. But I suggest that considering these people as fans is an exaggeration, and leads you down the wrong path in terms of marketing. This is mineral water, not a luxury goods or lifestyle brand.
In conclusion, brands like Volvic would be better off creating distinctive marketing to drive penetration, not asking consumers to create content for them.