September 9, 2011

Participatory Advertising

A lot of talk this week in class about what the future of advertising is - what the heck is advertising now anyways?

Is "liking" a brand's Facebook page advertising on behalf of the company? (click on this link to have your mind blown. Inception style.) Is an event orchestrated by a branded franchise but devoid of any obvious onsite advertising still considered advertising?

Kenton Larsen (CreComm teacher) drew the distinction thusly (as far as I understand - don't quote me on the test): advertising is paid for and controlled by the Advertiser. Unpaid advertising that is not controlled by the Advertiser falls under the field of "Public Relations" - still marketing a product, but doing it through media events/unpaid endorsements/etc that aren't paid for.

NOW, I think there's a particular type of advertising that straddles these two fields - participatory advertising. Paid for by the advertiser, true, but incomplete unless the viewer participates of their own free will. It's old school advertising meets the YouTube generation.

Perhaps I'm completely out to lunch (the comments section will let you say so) but the following ads are cool nonetheless. Rad, even.


Hot Wheels (Mattel) Roadside Billboards - Mexico
Possibly by Young & Rubicam or Ogilvy & Mather... unsure after brief websearch


International Labour Organization - Magazine Ad


And the pick of the litter...

Radiotjanst (Swedish organization which collects radio/tv license fees)

Sweden was having a problem getting its citizens to voluntarily pay their license fees and turned to DraftFCB to create this commercial, praising those who had paid. During the campaign it was possible to go to Radiotjanst's website and add whatever jpeg image you liked to the movie - you could choose who would be the hero.

The video above is an example of what you could have done - sadly the campaign is now closed.

Participatory advertising. What do you think?


  1. Anonymous9/11/2011

    I agree with you about the distinction between PR and ad. You actually summed it up quite nicely.

    But what do you call advertising (such as that mind-blowing link you included to 'Like' Facebook) that is not paid for? I don't think Facebook paid themselves to put that page (ad) up there ...

  2. I'm not entirely sure. Seeing as a person's "Like" choices show up in their Facebook News feed perhaps:

    Mass Non-Celebrity Endorsement?