In the last several years, consumers have gained a lot of control.

From the GAP rebranding outcry (and consequent brand reversal), to the Chevy Tahoe social media campaign failure of 2006, all the way to the collage of new BP logos surfacing on the web following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, companies have begun to respect (fear) consumers like never before.

I don’t blame them. Consumers are now all connected and are publishing like never before – they’re publishing daily by tweeting, blogging, Facebook status updating, LinkedIn e-networking, Flickr photo uploading, video creating, podcasting, message boarding, location logging, etc.

On June 3rd, a small theatre company in Austin Texas called Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, produced this video in response to an angry customer phone call complaint (thanks Debra Watkinson for bringing this to my attention). It’s surprisingly the opposite of an apology and defies pretty much every social media strategy book in publication right now:

I say, well done. Alamo Drafthouse recognized something very important – if consumers are now publishers, then they too, as a company, is a publisher as well. They can access and play in the same digital spaces just as consumers can.

Can this video be the catalyst for a new stage in strategic social media corporate communications? A stage where brands won’t just automatically bow down to the threats and berating of consumers, but will instead begin using their marketing might and ingenuity to craft their own creative content that wins crowds over?

Cow Chasing Man

Maybe eHarmony was inspired by Alamo Drafthouse’s recent victory, with the creation of their own video in response to a spoof video that showed up on a few days ago. You can read my blog article on this story, Are You Looking For A Date?

You’ll notice in both situations, the brands producing the videos hadn’t broken any of their own promises and produced videos that the greater community would enjoy.

So what do you think – are we entering a new stage where brands begin to fight back?

Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a web design & social marketing agency that instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands. To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. Andrew can be followed on Twitter here.