An Online-Video Contest Crisis Begs for Better Model

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 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?

Continue reading “An Online-Video Contest Crisis Begs for Better Model”

Amateur Commercial Beats Agency Ads in Superbowl

It’s not the first year a Superbowl ad was produced by an amateur (source: Advertising Age report on USAToday poll).

But this year’s $2000.00 commercial featuring a crystal ball getting tossed into a Doritos machine beat many of the Madison-created commercials. It’s a good day for companies like Poptent/Xlntads, which contract with amateurs to produce TV and web commercials. The folks that produced the Doritos spot (see video below) have been awarded a million-dollar contract as a result. Not bad. I still like mine better, not that I’m biased.

Carla McLeod, CMO of Zeta Interactive, a digital agency that monitors buzz, said that “Free Doritos” was also the best-performing Super Bowl ad in the blogosphere. Not only did the spot have the most posts in hours following the game, but nearly 90% of the posts were positive. “People thought it was a fun, memorable ad,” she said. “It really resonated with that audience.”

In related news, the video I posted featuring my top-1o Superbowl 2009 commercials has been viewed 240,000 times in the past 24 hours (more than 6 times the number of people than fit into the stadium for yesterday’s Superbowl), and this blog has been viewed in the past 24 hours more than ever before– in fact 4x the second highest day. Oh I’m not bragging, mind you. Nope. Just letting you know the thirst remains high for Superbowl ad buzz.

WAZZUP Budweiser Ad: 2008 Version

A must-see video (thanks Jan) because in 4 days this clip has been viewed 2.5 million times on YouTube alone. So it’s touching a nerve. It’s the Budweiser “wuzzup” advertisement in 2008. A depressed unemployed guy, a soldier, a dude needing healthcare and pain pills, and a screwed investor. Or something like that.

It appears that the distributor (channel owner) is 60Frames is not an indivual creator but a collection of them, and maybe this one is sponsored?  Which maybe explains why it has very few subscribers and varying videos. But a cool logo, dangit.

You’re not even reading this. You’re watching the video. Well it has some long pauses so go answer the Monopoly question below.


Sponsored Fun or Selling Out? Comedy Duo On Road Trip for Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz.

rhett and link buffet songRhett and Link, comedic video amateurs, are mountaineering above the overhang of “The Great Cliff of New-Media Sponsored Advertising.” They’re harnessed to each other with a taut rope, knotted with creativity. The friends swing effortlessly to the next hold in a pendulum traverse. Rhett knows the objective danger as he firmly grabs his nub, and Link’s total attention is committed to spotting him. Their eyes lock, then gaze slowly down upon the falling spree at the mountain’s base. It would be a perilous drop to their death (is that ZeFrank’s skeleton?). But they both smile, knowing full well that they’ll live to see another climb.

[Editorial addition 6/20 9 pm EST: Rhett and Link have an insightful comment below] In their latest celebration of corporate sponsorship, the singing and acting duo present this hysterical video called “The Buffet Song.” It’s a song parody about all-you-can-eat buffets. Now there’s *every reason* I should have known this was a sponsored video:

  1. It was clear on the video’s description and it was a reply to a video about the Alka Seltza tour.
  2. I received this from them via e-mail, and it was explained as a video that it’s part of their of “Great American Road Trip Series” sponsored by Alka Seltzer.
  3. Heck I even last week agreed via e-mail to meet them in Philly (Pat and Gino’s Cheesesteaks) for a video that they said was part of some Alka Seltzer series. They wrote, “It’s part of our Alka Seltzer road trip gig…. We’re still developing the angle so if you’re interested, you can weigh in as we develop it.” I took that as a fun challenge, and began soliciting others to collaborate. See- sometimes it’s not all about the money. Maybe they’ll have free samples.

But then, like, Yipes, Scoob… I opened this video above, and all of that awareness vanished — just like those pain pangs of overindulgence when met by a delciously effervescent glass of heartburn and indigestion medication.

In fact, I’d like to take you sequentially through my experience, which is something I can’t stand in a conversation. I’m always telling my wife, “you’re burying the lead again, Jo… I don’t need to know about how much change the post office gave you before the freak you saw on the way out. Just tell me about the freak.” But now I digress…

To read about my sequential experience wrapping my small brain around this video campaign, click MORE (bottom left corner of this blog – right above the “share” link”). Trust me, it’s worth it.

alka seltzer

Continue reading “Sponsored Fun or Selling Out? Comedy Duo On Road Trip for Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz.”

Terrorist Bloopers & Outtakes (video)

terrorist bloopers parody youtube videoHow do I miss something this viral?

It’s called Terrorists Bloopers, and it’s a low-budget parody of the “Girls Gone Wild” advertisements. A funny spoof on cheesy commercials and terrorism. And the ending is worth waiting for.

Here’s some fun trivia about it:

  • It was created by a Brooklyn NYC comedy troupe named Poykpac. Here’s another account (PoykpacLive) by the same group. Credits: Directed by Jonny Gillette, story by Paul Whitty, edited by Ryan Hunter and voiceover by Taige Jensen.
  • If you’re a terrorist and want to avenge the creators of this parody, here’s where they live.
  • Family Guy produced an Osama Bin Laden blooper reel that featured a similar joke. The creators say, “we humbly offer our sincerest apologies for having plagiarized something we’ve never seen.”

Apple MacBook Air is Obsessed With Thin

Apple MacBook Air commercial parodyLast night I got an e-mail from Mac that showcased the new Apple MacBook Air. The product is interesting and the spot was simple with a contagious song called New Soul by Yael Naim. Although I was already well into my nightly Ambien, I felt I couldn’t pass on a quick parody. About 19 minutes later, I uploaded “Apple MacBook Air Thin Obsession,” which parodies the ad.

My work HP computer (I wouldn’t treat my own so poorly) is watching the ad, and goes on a binge & purge diet. Fortunately my wife had taped a recent episode of Oprah which featured a tearful discussion about weight loss, which lent itself well to the portrayal of sadness the HP feels watching the new models. The parody culminates with my HP bent over the toilet, vomiting its optical drive.

I didn’t monetize the clip on YouTube, because it contains the original song and clips from Oprah. But it’s topical and seems to be well received, although clearly not “PC.” It’s currently the fourth highest rated comedy of the day on YouTube (which usually doesn’t happen within 8 hours), and we’ll see if it viralinates or gets pulled…

I suppose the lesson here is that what this clip lacks in polished production in editing it perhaps makes up for in topicality, quirkiness, and speed. Given that it took less than 20 minutes to conceive, shoot, edit and upload. It shows that there are other variables to viral that are more important… Like making fun of a society obsessed with beauty and thin, and capitalizing on what I’m sure will be a fairly intense media blitz by Apple.