I was reading the POV of a franchise trade blog on a TCBY “This Could Be Yours” video contest in which we’re a finalist. The contest, unlike many I’ve entered, is not about producing a compelling video to persuade consumers. It’s designed to prove to TCBY that you’re worthy of winning… a TCBY franchise (valued at $300K).
As I commented on that blog post, my first thought about this TCBY contest is that it might attract people who wouldn’t otherwise be strong franchise candidates. A franchisee demonstrates their commitment to the franchiser by investing start-up capital. By waiving that, TCBY has removed a healthy “barrier to entry” that keeps away those lacking the fortitude.
As a military analogy, the franchisee capital investment (which can range from $50-$300K) is the equivalent of boot camp. While boot camp trains new military recruits, it’s also a Darwinian-like process that ensures those going to battle are ready to endure.
I’ve written about plenty of video contests (and read Jared’s “Video Contest King“). But this is not like most video contests. It feels like it was driven by an effort to increase franchisee interest (B to B: business to business), but it’s perhaps inadvertently turned into a B-to-C (business to consumer) campaign. In other words, what might have been designed to spur franchise expansion has turned into something that can’t help but create consumer demand for yogurt. Check out Google News to see all of the local press this has generated. Our local story (see part of it here, or the scanned version at tcbywinners.com) prompted a classmate of our daughter to send us something she’d written in 2004:
“One day I will own an ice cream store shop and make lots of ice cream.”
Given the costs of a video contest (advertising, public relations, interactive development, contest legalities, etc), I wouldn’t expect a company like TCBY to make that investment to reach a fairly narrow audience: franchisee candidates. There certainly are more efficient ways to reach that target audience (trade shows, franchise magazines, franchise bloggers). But given the massive amount of public-relations spawned by this, the payoff to TCBY will indisputably be broader… enhanced branding, increased consumer awareness, demand growth.
3 examples that are difficult to put into a video contest ROI model (and I’m sure each contestant has examples like these):
- Our local public school sent e-mails to parents, sent kids home with fliers about our efforts, and I’ve seen word-of-mouth in our area alone that rivals anything advertising can do. My wife travels with cards announcing the website, and her campaign makes Obama look like a recluse.
- Our “Yogurt Boy” entry (posted on my smaller channel “UncleNalts”) has surpassed 6,000 views. When I mentioned the contest on my Nalts channel in this video, it spawned some organic support. HappyCabbie, a video creator, surprised me with this “Help Nalts Family Win TCBY Video.” Jo plans to takeover my Nalts channel to make a passionate plea to my 150K plus subscribers (maybe I’ll give her a discount from my typical sponsorship cost- hee).
- I’m not assuming TCBY, like my other sponsors, sees value in webstar video as a promotional channel to increase consumer demand. But whether we win or lose we’ll probably have volunteered what I would otherwise have charged at least $30K to do.
Some parting thoughts for those of you that dared read this long:
- Will we win a yogurt franchise? You and the judges will have to decide that (here’s our page, and voting requires you to register and confirm e-mail first).
- But have we discovered a new angle to the tired “video contest” contest? I think so.
- Do I know how a TCBY can perform in rural PA versus some of the climate regions? Nope.
- Is this really a creative video contest? Not in the traditional sense.
- We’re up against some serious competition with solid experience, capability, and desire to run a TCBY frozen-yogurt franchise. Then again, we’ve got two things going for us: wifeofnalts‘ passion and tenacity, and her husband’s online visibility as a StreamingMedia All-Star and viral video genius. 😉