Co-Creation and Personalization


Our readings this week commented on the spread of participatory media culture and its invitation for customer co-creation. This shift toward increased customer involvement invites both positives and negatives to the advertising front. While it is a means of generating free content and connecting with your base of consumers, it also opens the door to problems with intellectual copyright, professional autonomy and identity in the creative industries, and changing the desired trajectory of a company’s message or branding agenda. (Deuze 2009)

Looking at one of Ford’s new car advertisements for the Escape, I wonder if companies are finding a new middle ground of free content. By featuring their employees in the commercials, highlighting their ideas for the new and improved car design, they are able to keep their brand message on target, while keeping creative costs low. And by featuring the employees as everyday people with ideas, Ford can profit from the image that their employees are just like us, consumers of the Ford brand. Mike Gallagher, a marketing communications manager at Ford stated that the use of employees, “bring[s] an authenticity to the spots rarely offered to the consumer. This personalizes Ford’s Go Further campaign.”

Another interesting take on marketing the “personalization” of a generic product to the consumer can be seen in the promotional footage from Breville, a company that makes coffeemakers and espresso machines. The agency they hired to market the product decided to use art in order to infuse a sense of uniqueness into the experience of creating the perfect brew, tailored to the customer’s specific preferences. Digital art designs were created to map themselves to the flow rate, pressure, temperature, and steam of the machine creating an infographic of the process of brewing the perfect espresso. This elevation of the product-consumer dynamic through the apparatus of art is an interesting pathway for commercial art and advertising to tread.

-Emily Wood


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