Customer Content For Advertising

Posted on 10/23/2006 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



October 23, 2006

Sunday River Ski Resort in Bethel, Maine has developed a novel way to promote their business for free. They invite customers to post videos of themselves or other skiers and snowboarders, taken at Sunday River, on the site. (See

Much like YouTube there is no monetary compensation for these videos. All the skiers get is their fifteen minutes of fame. It seems likely that once a skier has posted a video he will tell all his friends to take a look - and Sunday River gets free advertising. The promotion effect is also likely to be very targeted to ski enthusiasts and those likely to eventually be Sunday River customers. It is a way of getting the crowd to promote your business.

Jose Azel pointed this image use out to me said, "Those who are worried about the potential impact of micro payment images on our industry ought to be much more worried about what Sunday River is doing. It is much more of a potential killer to advertising sales than micro payment. Even though the margins with micro payment are incredibly low, at least there is a margin."

Think About It

Quality is not important. In fact clips that look like they have been shot by amateurs may have greater appeal.

If the company operating the site gets a lot of activity it can post the clip of the week, or of the day on its home page. Constant change encourages customers to come back more frequently.

Many products and services could enhance their image through more customer involvement with either stills or video. For example: Decorate your Tommy Hilfiger T-Shirt. Where do you use your Verizon cellphone?

Award prizes for the most unusual, the weirdest or the most attractive and let the crowd vote on who should win.

Several photographers are moving from producing stills to video, believing we are on the brink of an explosion in demand for stock video clips. But maybe the real demand will be for customer generated short videos rather than professionally produced clips.

If more advertising moves in these directions the people making the money for this type of advertising will be the web site developers and the web hosting services, not the image creators.

Copyright © 2006 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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