Don’t Confuse “User Generated Content” With “Original Content”

Not Exactly the Wisdom of Crowds           

Not Exactly the ‘Wisdom’ of Crowds

If you go to Flickr and type in the phrase “Holding Up the Tower of Pisa”, you will get 324 results, all featuring tourists documenting themselves as they interpret this classic comedy meme of flawed Italian architecture optical illusion photography.

There is nothing original about this gag, and yet, like the compulsion that drives Pacific salmon to swim hundreds of miles to return to their birthplaces and spawn, thousands of tourists can no more leave the Pisa area without documenting themselves in this act then they could visit Kiev and not order the chicken.

As advertising adapts to the realities not only of convergence, but also the creative democracy of mass amateurization ushered in by today’s wonderfully accessible digital photography, video editing, audio mixing, and desktop publishing tools, one fundamental truth becomes absolutely inescapable: the best idea wins.

Despite budgets, despite production values, despite credentials and titles, in the final measure, the best idea wins.  Most times, that won’t be an amateur’s idea.  But if you spend anytime surfing the net, and you see things like this, this, and this, you can’t deny that a good idea can come from anywhere.  And does, just often enough, to create a vague sense of doubt among some clients about whether or not they should buy a concept…or wait around and hope for something better.  From someone.  Anyone…

It’s a major frustration of the business.  But the only way around it is to have the best ideas.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

4 thoughts on “Don’t Confuse “User Generated Content” With “Original Content”

  1. mark0905 says:

    Others have jumped into bear pits before, too, but that German woman I think has retired the trophy. Doesn’t executing a familiar idea better than its ever been done before count for something?

  2. dennisr61684 says:

    Mark–perhaps the fraulein has and yes, excellence of execution does lift one at least somewhat above the madding crowd.
    In which case, I’d also cite these executions…
    For a DIY effort without any assistance–
    For it’s unusually clean and CU perspective–
    For it’s gymnastic, Bart Conner-esque quality–

    And finally, given how hopelessly off he is, I’m thinking this might be Hessy–or at the very least, a regular surfer to–

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