American (Ad) Idol

American (Ad) Idol

: Craig Newmark has a change-the-rules idea the new Current.TV: Let the audience vote off the worst commercials.

I like that: Sponsors would know the rules when they advertise and would operate under fear of being voted off, so they would improve their commercials.

But it’s so, well, negative. How about a more aggressive scheme:

How about having a contest for the best commercials, products, and brands on the network. Make it a game. Hire the Simon Cowell (or Bob Garfield) of the people to slam the spam. Have the sponsors compete for our affection.

Everybody wins:

: Suddenly, consumers have a reason to pay attention to commercials. Wow, that is revolutionary. So if the sponsors have decent commercials, they win.

: The network becomes a better environment for advertising. Advertisers will line up to give them money. The network wins.

: The sponsors improve their commercials and consumers can get rid of the worst of them and encourage better ones. The audience wins.

The audience is in control.

This follows my first law of media (and life): Give people control of media and they will use it. Don’t give the people control and you will lose them.

That’s all Craig is doing. That’s all Craig ever does: He empowers the people. Good thinking, Craig.

: This also deals with a problem of marketing and media in this era when media is paid on performance: That is, if you are a publisher or blogger, you get paid only when the consumer clicks on an ad you run. But if the ad is crappy (or the ad targeting is off) then no one will click and you lose; you used up your space, your ad avail, to no avail.

So what if you got to pick the ad creative you put on your site or network… or recreate it? That scares ad agencies that make money on making that creative. But, hey, it’s a new era: You win when you give up control, not keep it. So the wise advertiser and ad agency would take Craig’s idea (and my add) and run with it.

[Bad link to Craig fixed. Sorry.]