All posts by 332466bb

Crowdsourcing ad campaigns – the future of advertising?

With massive amounts of information available online, consumers are increasingly better informed about companies and their offerings (1). These advances increase the bargaining power of consumers and show how focus has shifted from the company towards the consumer (2). The process of advertising and content creation is thus changing. Agency-created advertising is not expected to disappear, but nowadays the demand for continually-refreshed materials is growing rapidly. By crowdsourcing new content, brands can use passion and insights from consumers and provide authentic marketing communications (3). The number of platforms where companies can run open pitches for their advertising has rapidly grown and the European Commission (1) expects the volume to grow to €5.5 billion in 2015. An example is the social crowdsourcing platform Zooppa, which allows for brands and agencies to place advertising contests in order to generate advertising campaigns. It offers  ‘a cost-effective, strategic approach to engage consumers, build online word-of-mouth and gain customer insights’ (4). The company states that its main challenge is to open the minds of the industry towards these new ways of working and acquiring content, instead of building on an reusing one ‘hero’ tv ad (3). For each contest, a creative brief is provided. By submitting designs for video, print, concepts, audio or banner advertising, over 300,000 active members (5), both professionals and amateurs, compete for money and other prizes. zooppa how it works Users can vote and comment on submissions of others. This peer feedback plays an important role, since it can facilitate additional learning opportunities, but also provides social value and recognition to users (Franke, Keinz & Schreier, 6). By participating in Zooppa contests, users can grow their portfolio and have it seen by millions (7). The company does not pre-select contributors based on their qualifications or context specific as described by Geiger et al. (10). Contibutors only have to register and complete a personal profile (Facebook account or e-mail address). The quality of submissions can be controlled in various ways (8). Zooppa uses e.g. specific terms and conditions regarding ownership of submitted materials and peer evaluation of content. zooppa for companies For each competition both Jury awards (assigned by clients) and Community awards (based on community votes) are handed out. Providing several prizes (monetary prizes as well as awards) is described (8) as the best way to target asymmetrically skilled individuals (professionals as well as amateurs). This way, participation from weaker players increases, and competition and effort by strong players increases as well (Sisak, 9). Remuneration is probably a major reason for creatives contributing to Zooppa. But also intrinsic motivations such as glory and love (Zooppa displays ‘featured members’ on the homepage with a picture, the projects they contributed to and how much money they won) (8) can be reasons for contribution. A successful example is the sustainability campaign of Siemens. ‘By crowdsourcing video stories Siemens obtained hundreds of unique, authentic content pieces used across channels, all at less than the cost of producing one average TV commercial’ (3). An example of a smaller brand is Mike’s Hard Lemonade Company, which posted contests to obtain can designs and names for new flavors. The winning designs were voted for by consumers (11) and the company included the names of the winners on the cans (3) to build engagement. Concluding, the Zooppa platform sounds like an ideal way for companies to crowdsource their advertising campaigns. However, it remains unclear how many professionals vs amateurs submit ideas and whether the resulting winning ads are truly user-generated (as the company repeatedly states).

(1) Walter, E. (2012).
(2) European Commission (2014).
(3) AdLibbing (2014).
(4) Globe Newswire (2012).
(5) Zooppa (2015).
(6) Franke, Keinz & Schreier (2008). Complementing Mass Customization Tookits with User Communities: How Peer Input Improves Customer Self-Design. Journal of product innovation management.
(7) Zooppa (2015).
(8) Tsekouras, D. (2015). Session 3 Ideas & Designs. Customer Centric Digital Commerce.
(9) Sisak, D. (2008). Multiple-prize contests – the optimal allocation of prizes. Journal of Economic Surveys.
(10) Geiger, D., Seedorf, S., Schulze, T., Nickerson, R.C., Schader, M. (2011).  Managing the Crowd: Towards a Taxonomy of Crowdsourcing Processes. (2011). AMCIS 2011 Proceedings – All Submissions. Paper 430.
(11) PRNewswire (2014).

Co-creating new advertising formats

According to Andy Hart, Vice President for Microsoft Advertising & Online Europe (1), studies have shown that an average consumer in a city in Europe receives between 1,500 and 3,500 commercial messages every day. Consumers are increasingly starting to avoid ads and the rules of advertising are changing.

Therefore, between 2012 and 2013, Microsoft initiated co-creation sessions with consumers and designers and separate sessions with partners to redefine the ways that ads appear and to create concepts that would solve problems in and around shopping experiences (2). It was found that consumers want to see less advertising, but more information that can specifically help them get what they want.

According to industry experts, Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform was not getting a lot of advertiser’s attention because it was not as extensively adopted as platforms like Android (3). Therefore, in 2013, the company announced a new ad format for its Windows 8 platforms based on the aforementioned sessions. The company released several prototypes co-developed by brands and agencies (4). With this Ad Pano platform, the company reaches out to consumers on different devices, by offering multiplatform and cross-platform experiences. Supposedly, it will enable Microsoft to compete with iAd, a similar platform offered by Apple (5).

The new Ad Pano ad format is a panoramic format that allows advertisers possibilities to run ads in apps within Windows 8, Bing, Xbox and Skype. It offers an ‘active anchor ad experience, which comes to life with a series of 15 images that can simulate video, similar to a flip-book’ (3). Aim of these co-creations and the resulting new ad format was to create something meaningful for all involved: ‘the brand becomes more relevant while the customer becomes more connected’ (6).

Several prototypes were developed, for instance the campaign prototype for the hip and edgy clothing brand All Saints (below) and an ad experience for Vans shoes within Skype (7).

According to Grönroos and Voima (2013), ‘co-creation is the process by which mutual value is expanded together’ (8). Thompson and Malaviya (2013) have researched whether brands can benefit from communicating to consumers who have not been involved in a co-creation process that a target ad was developed by a fellow consumer. Even though the content of the ads is not necessarily designed via consumer co-creation, the platform itself is. You might expect that consumers would react favorably to this, but that highly depends on how a message recipient perceives the ad creating consumer.

The question is whether the media attention for this new Windows 8 ad platform was beneficial for Microsoft, because it was disclosed that the Ad Pano was co-created by consumers. Thompson and Malaviya (2013) found that if message recipients perceive the fellow consumer as someone more similar to them than a professional persuader, this increases the persuasiveness of the ad through the process of identification. However, if ‘message recipients are skeptical about the ability of ordinary consumers to develop effective advertising’ (9), this can hurt the persuasion of an ad.

Even though this case does not concern ads, but an ad platform, consumers might think that fellow consumers cannot develop an effective platform and that it is something professionals should do. This may influence how they perceive messages via the Ad Pano platform. However, other sources state that ‘by involving stakeholders and customers at the beginning of the process trust and empathy is quickly created’, which improves your position in the market, offering speed and agility (10). It would be interesting to find out more about how consumers have reacted to this platform tailored to their wishes for more tailored information to help them get what they want (9).

(8) Grönroos, C., & Voima, P. (2013). Critical service logic: making sense of value creation and co-creation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41(2), 133-150.
(9) Thompson, D.V., & Malaviya, P. (2013). Consumer-Generated Ads: Does Awareness of Advertising Co-Creation Help or Hurt Persuasion? Journal of Marketing, 77(3), 33-47.

Corporate Brands From an Open-Source Perspective

In this blog post I will describe the most interesting theoretical and practical elements of the paper ‘The penguin’s window: corporate brands from an open-source perspective’ by Pitt, Watson, Berthon, Wynn and Zinkhan (2006), which relates to session 3.

The traditional New Product Development (NPD) model, where companies are exclusively responsible for coming up with new product ideas, is increasingly being challenged. For instance, innovative success stories of Open Source (OS) projects suggest that customer empowerment makes sense economically. This customer empowerment affects internal NPD processes (companies more actively and directly integrate customer ideas about new products), but also how companies are perceived in the marketplace.

The article introduces an OS lens to review traditional corporate brands. The term OS originated in computer programming, ‘in which a program’s source code is open to view and modification, and there is no charge to download and use the program’. Nowadays the term is used to describe movements that have similar philosophical underpinnings to OS software (e.g. Wikipedia). OS brands have been created in nontraditional ways at minimal cost and thus challenge accepted knowledge of brand building and maintenance. It is important for traditional marketers to understand that organizations behind OS brands do not behave like their traditional competitors. They do not compete in the same way, do not produce their offerings in the same way, are frequently difficult to monitor, and are mostly not motivated by the same financial incentives as traditional branded sellers.

Historically, power and control were centralized and hierarchical with corporations: the producers produced and the customers consume. However, OS decentralizes power and control and makes it heterarchical: producers and consumers are merged into ‘prosumers’. Thus, companies should rethink how to respond to customers becoming its coproducers, its collaborators and its competitors.

Therefore the authors came up with sources of an OS offering (physical, text experience and meaning) and considered these in terms of ‘open’ and ‘closed’ dimensions (figure 2). Interestingly, the authors state that ‘even the most traditional corporate brands are not as closed as managers may think’.

fig 2

A brand’s meaning cannot be solely determined by the corporation, e.g. the meaning of the Harley-Davidson brand is largely determined by the type of people who drive the motorcycles.

Corporations want to direct appropriate experiences in their offerings. According to the authors there is an ‘experience economy’, wherein the participation of the consumer is actively sought and cultivated to create the brand experience (e.g. in Disneyland).

The rise of fast processors and adaptable interfaces has fueled the rise of interactivity, in which text (stories) become partly open and shaped by readers.

The physical aspects of a brand offering have traditionally been closed and determined by corporations. As discussed in class, there has been a rise in mass customization and nowadays in cocreation of physical products.

Using this framework can help to revision corporate branding towards an open perspective wherein prosumers create the physical offering, author the text, generate the experience, and evolve the brand meaning. This results in a loss of organizational control over the brand.

The authors view OS brands based on the social capital theoretical framework and a specific form of ‘gift economies’, where goods and services are given to others with no reciprocal obligation from the recipients (e.g. creativity, innovation, and development services provided by members). Conversely to economic capital, the more one gives away, the more symbolic capital one accumulates in the form of prestige, status, and reputation.



Fuchs, C., & Schreier, M. (2011). Customer empowerment in new product development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(1), 17-32

Pitt, L. F., R. T. Watson, P. Berthon, D. Wynn, and G. Zinkhan. 2006. The penguin’s window: Corporate brands from an open-source perspective. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 34 (2): 115–27.