Nov 29 2009
Amazon is a digital native company, which means that they think first about the customer, and the customer’s needs and goals. So, when they decided that they needed to start advertising on television, they went about the process in a way that activated their passionate and committed fan base.
Amazon decided to create a contest for users to submit their own Amazon commercials. They got their customers to be their biggest advocates.
Here’s what they didn’t do:
-They didn’t create an RFI and distribute it to dozens of agencies.
-They didn’t vet those, and request proposals from a few agencies.
-They didn’t select an agency to concept variations on a theme.
-They didn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on creative.
Amazon ended up giving the contest winner $20,000 in Amazon gift cards. And, the company got the rights to a refreshing, creative, sweet, touching ad. If you watch many TV ads, you know that those kinds of ads are in short supply. I just saw it on TV, and stopped fast-forwarding the TiVo because I remembered how much I had liked it previously (when was the last time that happened?).
Here it is:
Over and above, Amazon got a number of other impressive submissions, each of which shows a unique perspective on a company that is many specific things to many different people.
I watched these ads and voted when the contest was online-only. At that time, the winner was only promised the gift cards and a screening at a New York film festival. There was no guarantee that Angela would have a TV spot. But, it was enough to get her, and a number of others, to enter the contest, just to be associated with the Amazon brand.
It’s not that Angela gave of her creativity and hard work for nothing, though. I wonder how many hits her website has received since she won the contest. In fact, at a minimum, all of the entrants gained a portfolio piece for a large, well-known brand. The chance for recognition and attention was motivation enough.
This is crowdsourcing at its best – when your fan base and your customers are so passionate about their relationship with you that they will participate in making the brand their own. For free.