When Budweiser launched the hugely popular Whassup! campaign consumers started making their own versions and competing to see who could be most innovative and entertaining. Groups of Rabbis, English gentlemen, superheroes and South Park characters started Whassuping! appearing all over the web. They may not have realised it at the time but they were collaborating in an Open Source style.
Last year, General Electric ran an online advertising campaign called 'Pen' which allowed people to create a drawing online and send it to a friend. Effectively, the campaign direction and content was handed over to an online community, once again a very open source concept. This incredibly simple idea was a multi-award winner and resulted in users from 140 countries e-mailing 6 million sketches to 1.5 million recipients. This year the company is taking the campaign one step further and allowing people to collaborate on sketches in groups of 3.
And it’s not just online activity that works. In 2004, Mercedes asked people to send in pictures of themselves with their beloved Mercs. The company received a huge number of highly prized photographs which became the centrepiece of a traditional campaign. Again consumers were asked to create an open source style community and provide the campaign with its content and direction.
Converse, the old-school trainer manufacturer owned by Nike, has instigated a campaign inviting amateur film makers to submit short films based around the legendary sneaker. The company received more than 500 submissions which can all be viewed on their website, to which traffic has jumped. The winners are going to be turned into TV adverts, with the successful directors receiving $10,000 per spot.