I’ve written quite a bit about online-video contests as a win-win for producers and brands. Unless the agency insists on a giant microsite and excessive media buy, these give brands access to novel creative executions at a great price. And amateur producers can use it to promote their work, and make some bucks.
My support of Xlntads/Poptent is in hopes the startup can bridge the gap between brands (otherwise paying $200,000-$1,000,000 on TV spots in hopes they’ll land well) and the abundance of creative, talented directors who lacks the connections to become a candidate for a major shoot.
So I was rather surprised to see Jared, aka VideoContestKing (see blog) announce that he’s turning down more than $3,000 of prize money because it makes little economic sense for him. Jared, unlike me, has a television-quality production style and that comes with costs that can’t be offset with a year’s supply of Cheetos.
Last week,” said Jared, “I received and email from Right.Org informing me that I had placed 2nd and 7th with two of my video submissions to their contest. The total amount of prize money was $3,034.00. A tidy sum…but not enough for the job. I decided not to sell my creative property at the price point offered by Right.Org.
Here’s one of Jared’s entries, and you can certainly envision it on television:
Jared goes into great detail about his rationale and why it sets a bad precedent for someone making his income on producing television commercials and high-end content. It makes me wonder if Poptent.net can serve a higher niche (certainly that’s Poptent CEO Neil Perry’s vision). In the future, brands will (I strongly believe) engage lower-cost directors and develop a sleuth of TV-ready spots… then they’ll test them without the exhaustive research & revision process that currently goes results in cost-intensive commercial production (insight research, creative platform, message testing, concept testing, final execution). At the end of that process, sadly, we marketers and agencies never quite know if the ad fails or succeeds based on the insight, message approach, or creative execution. But what if you instead contracted with 6-12 producers, and tested numerous treatments online (not just asking “did the consumer like it and remember it?” but “did it increase your propensity to purchase?”
Risks are reduced, costs are minimized, risk is mitigated, and the final ad (whose director would get an additional premium for granting TV rights) would be more effective. Jared and I exchanged e-mails on this issue tonight, and he’s given me permission to share some of his thoughts. If you click “more” in this post, you can see some of the dialogue we’ve had. What do you think? Should Jared accept what he’s been awarded, or stand his ground with hopes of making a point?