Citizens’ TV: The people’s commercials

Citizens’ TV: The people’s commercials

: In response to my Explode Your TV post below, Maury Rosenfeld emailed to tell me about the wonderful SpecSpot site, where filmmakers go to show off the commercials they’ve made on spec and on their own dime to impress the advertising community.

Any newspaper classified campaign should try this spot. Budweiser: Ditto for this one or even better this one. Canon (or any video camera maker): Grab this one. Coke: If you have any sense, go take this commercial and just run it. And MTV: Why not?

Maury explains:

Young directors are creating well thought out and well executed TV commercials, on their own dime, in order to “get discovered”. These guys usually shoot high end video, sometimes film, with “real” LA crews… they beg/borrow/steal favors, and make promises of future work (when they “make it big”)… burn through their credit cards, and, as you mentioned, they take maximum advantage of the inexpensive software: editing, audio, fx etc to make these. I’d imagine that the typical budget for one of these spots is between $500 and $5k, most closer to the former. For reference, comparable spots produced “conventionally” would cost at least $180k – $200k, and that would be hard to do. More typically, they’d be budgeted between $240k-$350k and higher.

This raises all sorts of great possibilities. We’ve seen contests to make commercials for brands within tight restraints. But why not open it up? Help your customers sell your products: Give them footage and product and prizes and attention and money. Sure, there are risks: They could put up commercials that aren’t compatible with your carefully crafted and expensive brand message. But what if one of those commercials becomes viral; what if your customers love it; what if it drives sales; what if that’s their way of telling you what your brand message really is? What could be better than hiring your customers as your agency?

I think I’ll make commercials for brands I like. I have no problem using this space to warn you away from companies I don’t like (see DoubleTree Sucks). So I’ll recommend my favorite brands: Taco Bell, Apple, Ikea, Lexus, Boss, Stern, HBO… After all, these days, we are our brands.

Now wouldn’t/shouldn’t that be a marketer’s orgasm: Citizens using their creativity to sell products to each other… for free.

: I see that Tom Biro just wrote about SpecSpot too.

  • Heh. Spec’s are not only for young unknowns.
    Established directors do specs all the time. Leslie Dektor did some wonderful spec work for Denny’s a few years ago. They were some of the best adverts I’ve ever seen.
    It all ties into my “Sex & Cash Theory”, one of the most read things on my website.
    Maury’s site is pretty cool, though ;-)

  • Mike G

    Great, so now the public can be part of something (the 30 second commercial) that the public has stopped watching (see any ad biz magazine issue of the last 18 months).
    If you have a digital camcorder and a home editing suite, and can’t think of anything better to make than a 30 second spot for some company’s crap, that’s really sad.
    In other words kids– it’s too late for an ad guy like me, but you can still save yourselves!