Needed in UGC: Mary Poppins

CIQ Trends

“Thank God,” we all feel when she sails into the lives of Jane & Michael Banks. We’ve just witnessed the torturing of their last nanny and the Banks’ lives are in utter chaos. Dad is disengaged. Mom is off at a suffragette rally. And the kids are left to their own devices. See what happens with too much unstructured play.

In his wonderful article today, Alan Schulman talks about the perils of agencies trying to work with clients on the topic of user generated content. He says clients want to avail themselves of the latest and hottest. Agencies don’t want two up-and-coming film students to lure away busines with promices of YouTube success. But, on the other hand, the agency risks rushing into a space that the client doesn’t understand, doesn’t work with the client’s brand, and so forth. Nothing falls so flat as a campaign that tries to force virality.

“The trend is consumer as creator, not consumer as creative director,” Schulman says. Consumers want to participate, but both brands and content producers need to provide the magic of Mary Poppins. Give consumers a framework: a magical and emotionally engaging experience where their contributions make sense. Structure, “spit spot” and “spoonfulls of sugar.” Otherwise, all those content producers are just like kids on a playground. It may be fun. A way to blow off steam. But it’s not quality content generation that will endure for its entertainment value or benefit brands.