An Example of User-Generated Content Elevating an Art Form

February 27, 2009
While once doing work for a startup in the music space, I came across a terrific example of artistically impactful user-generated content (UGC): a visually reinterpreted Enimem music video of the hit “Lose Yourself” by a young Swedish Youtuber that goes by the moniker of Tulkas88.

For me, this song is a classic in the “motivational” genre of music (think Rocky’s theme and the like). But I would have never come to this emotional conclusion without watching the Tulkas88 version, as it delightfully reinforced the message of the song, over and over again: Don’t Give Up – This is Your One Chance – So DON’T BLOW IT!

The creative approach taken by Tolkas88 was very simplistic but powerful: a rapid fire set of PowerPoint-like slides with overlaid lyrics. Each image was precisely contextual to a given line of lyrics and mostly unpredictable. So the Tolkas version gives me many more things to discover and enjoy, all the while illuminating and strengthening the message of the song.

The Take Away: Meta and contextual information can dramatically improve the experience of art, content, or whatever, just like listening to the director’s comments of a favorite movie can conjure a greater appreciation and understanding of the original work.

(I would love to see a revised version of this that could serve as a promo for the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament).

Exhibit A: The UGC Challenger – Tolkas88
Total YouTube Views as of 2/26/2009: 4,065,052

Exhibit B: The Original - Eminem
Total YouTube Views as of 2/26/2009: 7,352,015

Disclaimer: This post purposefully ignored the related topics of intellectual property rights and age-appropriate censorship.

An Example of Old School User Generated Content: Vanity License Plates

February 20, 2009
It occurred to me while driving yesterday that there have been many offline forms of user-generated content (UGC), besides the traditional letter-to-the-editor prototype. For example, a favorite commuter game of mine is to decipher cryptic vanity license plates while traversing heavy traffic in southern California. A visually striking plate that caught my eye was on the car of an Ohio State football fan with the following UGC “message”:

Though UGC is often imperfect, vanity plates are a re...
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McDonald’s Coffee Converts Another Starbucks Drinker

February 12, 2009
I finally gave McDonald’s gourmet coffee a try today and my expectations were met. The flavor of my double latte was on par with Starbucks, while the cost was moderately priced. The reason I post this is that I find McDonald’s strategy to reinvent a portion of its brand offerings to be an important case study. It was a recent Wall Street Journal article on the high pricing of Starbucks that was the final impetus for me to give McDonald’s a try.

(On a side note: The Starbucks exec quoted...
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ROI and the Stimulus Package

February 9, 2009
It would be interesting to poll a large set of marketers regarding their take on the great stimulus package of 2009. Regardless of one’s political and economic leanings, how will any of these programs be effectively measured for real costs and tangible results? Just from a marketing perspective alone, it is a frightening thought to ponder how untrackable these expenditures will be. It would be refreshing and somewhat reassuring, however, if any and all proposed programs would be tested firs...
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What’s So Super About Super Bowl Ads?

February 2, 2009
I tend to judge the ritually over-hyped Super Bowl ads by two simple aspects: 1) Do they present the advertiser’s value proposition in a clear and positive light?; and 2) Do they intrigue me enough to try or recommend the product or service being advertised?

Conversely, my least favorites are those ads that denigrate their brand image for the sake of laughs and transparently play to members of the advertising industry. I have not watched all of Super Bowl XLIII’s commercials (due to SBAFS ...
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About Me

Robert Spears I am an interactive marketing professional that likes the intersection of creativity, metrics, technology, ease-of-use, great customer service, innovation, reliability, and passion.

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