Friday, January 26, 2007

"Citizen Marketer" Happy Slip to Mac: "You're Beautiful"

The latest citizen marketer video that's making its way around the net and through social networks is Happy Slip's "Mac Beautiful" music video.

The young woman who made this video is named Christine and her screen name is "Happy Slip" (great story about how she came up with this screen name). According to her site, she uses her videos as a means of personal expression. Based on a quick scan of the rest of the videos on her site this seems to be her first video that is centered around a brand. Though, perhaps more accurately, the video is centered around her wishes and desires, and the brand happens to be the object of her affection.

OK, two points I'd like to make about this related to our class:

First, let's apply this to our reading of Citizen Marketers and their typology of citizen marketers: filters, fanatics, facilitators, and firecrackers. It seems that this video fall in the tradition of George Masters' work with the iPod, who the authors identify as a "firecracker" ("the one-hit wonders of citizen marketers"; p. 17). These folks
"typically attract considerable attention because they have created a song, animation, video, or novelty that generates a lot of interest but tends to die out quickly as the creators go on with their other work" (p. 17).
However, Happy Slip is also a passionate fan of the Mac. But does this make her a "fanatic" in the Citizen Marketer typology? I would argue no because she's not really maintaining a whole site completely devoted to Apple. Instead, consider someone like Asif Alibhai, a student living in London, whose site catalogs every piece of Apple Computer video advertising ever created (thus making him both a "fanatic" and "filter"). Maybe someone can visit his site to see if Happy Slip's video makes it there (does Asif have a section just for consumer generated videos rather than those produced by the company?).

And this leads me to my second point. Is the way you classify a citizen marketer (or the activities of a citizen marketer) consequential to how a company should respond to the citizen marketer's contributions? For example, should Apple respond differently to Happy Slip than they do to Asif Alibhai?

It's clear that both Asif and Happy Slip are big fans of Apple, both are using social media as means of personal expression, and both are paying Apple a huge compliment. But it seems that one has more of a commitment to acting as a filter about the brand (Asif), whereas another has a commitment to expressing her personality and desire (which may just happen to be about a particular brand). And maybe also consider how do you think each may want Apple to respond, if at all?

What do you all think? Maybe we should think about all the different ways Apple could respond? I'll also invite Happy Slip and Asif to contribute their views if they so desire.

Hat tip: Pete Blackshaw's CGM blog