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November 23, 2005
BurgerKing's striptease dilemma: Lots of attention, no control
Anyone seen the striptease video that ends in a Burger King promotion? Ad Age writes about it(subscription protected). I read about it here, and here, after hearing about it from Bruce Nussbaum.
The video, apparently circulating wildly on the Net, grew out of a BK promotion for iPod videos on Heavy.Com. It features a striptease, which ends with a close up of a Burger King mask. In a sense, this is open-source advertising. BK delivers a platform and some props (the masks), and the community creates the ads. They're virtually free, and powerfully popular--but the advertiser loses all control.
I think this is a risk more and more advertisers will be accepting as they look to lower costs and hike up the buzz around their brands.
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I've no doubt companies will attempt to take advantage of community-created content; this isn't a new idea. But what I think may turn into a real problem for companies is the burden of making intelligent, informed choices about this net-spawned content.
In addition to all the things they normally need to consider, imagine now having to scour an ad for "Easter eggs". How many seemingly well-meaning contributors will purposely include hidden racist messages, pornagraphic content, or other unwelcome surprises intended to tarnish a corporate image? Which community members should they trust? What are the consequences if management casually dismisses a loyal community member's efforts? This is tricky ground. There are plenty of issues to consider and most of them involve human nature in a relatively unregulated space. It could get very nasty.
In the end, there's going to be very little buffer between decision-makers and the distributed content. I'd suggest company officers tread lightly. Nothing would make some griefers happier than costing some "suit" his job and becoming an online celeb in the process.
Posted by: csven at November 23, 2005 04:36 PM