Monthly Archives: July 2009

Nike Dumped

Nike has always been one of the smartest operators when it comes to engaging the crowd, but one of the key lessons we learned when writing Crowd Surfing was that even the best can occasionally come unstuck when it comes to dealing with the empowered consumer. A fairly harmless, low quality video of amateur basketball player, [...]


When consumers get creative

Yet another example of the challenges of managing a brand’s reputation in the age of consumer creativity, this time from Germany.  This fake commercial for Sprite was apparently produced by MTV director Max Isaacson, conducting a ‘social experiment’ – not sure whether that refers to the filming or the sex act it depicts.  The high production values meant [...]

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BBC plans public popularity contest

In the aftermath of Ross/Brand and other tales of overpaid talent, the BBC is apparently planning to canvas the opinions of viewers to help determine to size of future remuneration deals.  What the BBC Trust describes as a ‘more rounded assessment’ will consider “the reach and audience engagement that talent brings” before agreeing any new deals.   What [...]

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Empowering the disempowered

Consumer empowerment is generally considered a positive force for social and political progress – holding politicians to account, reviving local democracy, transferring authority from narrow elites to the general public, democratising the creative process.  But what about the disempowered?  The people without access to the internet or the skills, confidence or willingness to take advantage these new [...]

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Rebuilding trust, one conversation at a time

This is Fritz Henderson, the President and CEO of General Motors. Despite having to deal with an enormous ‘to do’ list, he is smart enough to recognise that reconnecting with GM customers is probably his most important task.  He made a commitment last week to “being closer and more available to consumers than ever before” and [...]

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The power of song (& a YouTube video)

Another great case study of how an angry and empowered individual with access to the internet – and in this case a catchy song and YouTube video – can force even the mightiest of corporations to back down.  Canadian songwriter Dave Carroll spent almost a year trying to persuade United Airlines to compensate him for the damage [...]

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The new economics of empowerment

Chris Anderson’s new book, ‘Free: The Future of Radical Price’ has received much criticism, especially from  Macolm Gladwell, who clearly doesn’t like the world (depicted by Anderson) in which highly paid professional journalists (I can’t imagine who he is thinking of) are replaced by amateur volunteers.  It hasn’t helped Anderson’s cause that he has also [...]

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Art for the Facebook generation

Antony Gormley, the man behind the Trafalgar Square ‘fourth plinth’ project, is a true crowd surfer.  His simple idea of offering ordinary members of the public an opportunity for self expression and the chance to be involved in a shared artistic endeavour, truly captures the spirit of the empowerment age.  The Times described his idea [...]

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Patient empowerment revisited

Back to an old topic, but the changing dynamic between GP and patient is one of the most interesting manifestations of consumer empowerment.  The funding of GP practices is now partly based on the results of the new GP Patient Survey.  This means that a relatively small number of disgruntled patients, if they account for [...]

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