Like so many other things in the marketing research world, I've gotten as many explanations of "co-creation" as there are people that I've asked.
Your blog item about the Snapple commercial notes the co-creation "peg" – which makes all the sense in the world. But, most of the explanations – and their associated methods – of achieving co-creation sound more like having the target customer "design" the promotion.
It seems that you're describing a process by which the target customer has such an authentic affinity for the advertising, that the ad has even greater effectiveness for the viewing target, and also the level of emotionality results in the target promoting the brand or the ad to others.
So, […] what's the deal?
Paul, for me cocreation is a matter of creating something in the product that so appeals to the consumer that this consumer wants to pass it along to others for his or her own purposes. I see an ad I love, I sent it to you. I do something for the brand in question obviously, but I also do something for my own standing in the world. I am seen to be (or I hope I am seen to be) the kind of guy who can identify good stuff, who passes it along in the manner of an early adopter, who creates a little cultural capital for himself by associating myself with the ad.
At the base of this version of cocreation, I am an economic actor who is incented by the quality of the ad and or product to pass knowledge of same along to friends and strangers. My "fee;" an augmentation of my standing in the world.
There is a more elaborate argument here, one that talks about the fact that for many people especially more junior generations, the social network is crucial as a source of life partners, business partners, social standing. And these networks are mushroom like, hydraulic in a manner of speaking. These networks wither and die unless they are constantly fed, and when I send an ad through my network I sustain it.
What I hadn't guite seen before is that this ties back to the quality of the ad, and not in just some general sense, but in some more particular one. And this is why Google can't make ads. Only very talented advertising people can. And their source of value here comes from their mastery of the social and cultural details with which they make the ad richer, more engaging and more endearing.
As usual, everything comes back to this for me.
There is an idea struggling to break free here, and I haven't quite identified it. Paul will no doubt do this for me. He's very smart. But I think it helps me see something about the agency model that can perhaps serve as part of its defense in this perilous times: that agency people, especially planners and creatives control an essential technology, a knowledge of the fine details, one might say, the secret details of social life and our culture, and that these fine and secret details are an essential part of the process by which the ad creates value for the brand and the client. Thoughts only. Thank you, Paul!