Here’s some deep irony to start the week — the digital generation is more likely than older generations to think that brands who put consumers in control of their brand messages (i.e. consumer-generated advertising) in an effort to be more “authentic” are actually full of s–t. According to a new American Marketing Association survey (via Blogspotting):

AMA’s survey revealed that compared to a company that uses only professional advertising, most adults feel that a company that uses customer-created advertising is more customer-friendly (68%), creative (56%), and innovative (55%).

Survey respondants between the ages of 18 and 24 are more likely than those between the ages of 25 and 64 to say a company that uses customer-created advertising is less trustworthy (21% versus 10%, respectively), less socially-responsible (20% versus 10%, respectively) and less customer-friendly (13% versus 5%, respectively).

The lesson for brands — figure out who you are, and then just be yourself. Your best customers are your best promoters, but don’t ask them to define who you are. Anyone in high school can tell you this is identity 101. If “markets are conversations,” then think about how annoying it is to have a conversation with somone who has no opinions and just keeps asking you what you think.