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Summary:

Want Doritos to run your ad in the Super Bowl? Want to have the “Best Job in the World“? In some cases your video-making skillz may just win you a contest. On the flip side, want to inspire passion about your product? Want your brand to […]

Want Doritos to run your ad in the Super Bowl? Want to have the “Best Job in the World“? In some cases your video-making skillz may just win you a contest.

On the flip side, want to inspire passion about your product? Want your brand to look cool? Want to get a bunch of cheap videos made? UGC video contests might be the answer for you, too.

OK, OK. This is nothing new. UGC video contests practically have their own line on income tax forms these days. But what exactly are the bargains that video makers and wannabe trendy companies are making with each other? Forrester looked at 102 different user-generated video contests and came up with observations and recommendations for those looking to get involved.

For me, the most interesting part of Forrester’s research was a comparison of the contests’ prizes. The cash prizes ranged from $200 to $22,000, and also included thematic products and services — like a honeymoon and customized invitations for a wedding firm’s “Bride Search” contest — as well as “aspirational prizes” like Nestle offering an opportunity to sing at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

The problem with contests, though, is they’re a gamble. The average cash prize was $4,505 — not bad for a few days’ work, but not so great if you don’t end up winning and end up with nothing.

Only 52 percent of video contests Forrester reviewed offered more than one prize, though experienced contest runners said multiple prizes are a good idea because they inspire more entries.

If Forrester wants to follow up, I’d like to know more about trends taking place when it comes to terms, ownership and permissiveness of contests. It seemed that UGC ads were going out of favor a while back — yet they persist. Who is deriving sustained value from them these days?

Further, how much in the way of rights are brands willing to give to entrants? And how much do brands tend to censor entries nowadays — remember the Heinz and Chevy contests that attracted unsavory (literally) and anti-SUV entries, respectively? Are brands clamping down more, or becoming more inclusive?

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  1. Hi, I’m Jordan- I work for Strutta, one of the companies cited in the Forrester report. If you’ll indulge me, I wanted to take a crack at a few of your questions.

    To your question of terms, ownership and permissions, it is our policy to always leave ownership in the hands of the content creator, and grant the rest of the parties in the agreement a license to use the content. This is inline with most content-sharing sites on the web, and we so no reason why it should be any different in the case of content made for a contest.

    While the Madison Ave folks may have exhausted the huge PR payoffs that come with first-mover advantage, the tools and execution (plug: see my link above) are becoming more affordable and “DIY.” This opens up the idea of video contests to the markets that stand to gain the most from UGC; they who cannot afford our friends at the big agencies.

    As for censorship of content, much has been learned by gaffs like the Tahoe fiasco. Unfortunately this means that more brands are moderating entries and comments before publishing, etc. That makes it less fun and instant for entrants, but gives brands the feeling of control they (read: their legal departments) need to venture into this space.

    Hope I’ve been helpful,

    Jordan Behan
    Dir. of Community Relations
    Strutta.com

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    1. Thanks for the info Jordan! How is the business side going at Strutta? Is the DIY approach working?

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  2. Er, my link below, as it were ;)

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  3. Plenty of people have used the DIY options, both on a small and large scale, and we’ve worked with a diverse range of marketers and agencies already. From a business perspective, that ‘passive’ revenue has been a terrific proof of our model, and a sign of good things to come.

    It has other desired effects too- in that our proven technology attracts larger custom campaigns, whose features we will continue to roll into the existing and future products. In short: we’re full steam ahead, and business is great. Thanks for the interest, Liz!

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  4. [...] more brands jumping on the bandwagon: Levi’s and Daffy’s retail stores. NewTeeVee had a good write-up on the subject, citing new research from Forrester which reviewed 102 different contests and found [...]

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