Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Dark Side of UGC - The Cleveland Video


We've all read about the value of user generated content (UGC) and viral marketing. Unfortunately the best intentions do not always produce the desired results. Positively Cleveland, a DMO that promotes the region created a "Hastily-Made Tourism Video Contest". The goal was simple, use UGC to promote the city. This video was "created" for the contest, but obviously was never selected. None the less the first version of this funny but disturbing video has attracted 1,206,632 views. The second version to the left has attracted 994,291 views. When searching Cleveland on YouTube this video comes up 1st!
The lesson here is an important one. Travel companies can try to use UGC to enhance their online offering, but beware as the Internet user population may take this opportunity to do exactly the opposite from your intended goal. The sad part of this video is that though it is obviously a farce, it does show our country's declining "rust belt" and the toll the Recession has taken on the area.

34 comments:

Stephen Joyce said...

This is very similar to the UGC video contest from either Ford or GM (I don't remember which). If I remember correctly though, in that case the car company accepted the fact that these videos were on-line and just took their lumps. I wonder if a totally unrelated site or organization had put on the contest if it would have resulted in the same type of video.

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oh..where is Detroit??? where is American Auto???

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Samantha Fryberger said...

Actually, your post is incorrect. Positively Cleveland, the convention and visitors bureau promoting Cleveland Plus, created the video contest in response to Mike Polk's fictional "tourism board" videos that were designed for comedic effect. They were not created for us or the contest. We asked people to create more positive videos. Forty people did. You can see the entries at our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/positivelycleveland.

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