When you think of TurboTax, the words ‘rap’ or ‘Vanilla Ice’ don’t usually come to mind. But this past tax season, Intuit tried to change that for many.
Beginning February 8th, TurboTax ran a contest judged by Vanilla Ice and offering $25,000 to the person who could produce the best ‘tax rap’ video. With over 373 entries and 239,000 views to TurboTax’s YouTube channel, Intuit managed to reach a whole new audience.
The contest was picked up on social networking sites like Digg, Myspace and Reddit and an audience who probably isn’t too focused on their taxes, suddenly was given a name brand to associate tax season with.
While video contests aren’t a brand new idea in the world of online marketing, they are certainly taking off. A Google search for ‘online video contests’ yields 42 million results and YouTube has an entire community dedicated to contests alone.
More and more companies are beginning to realize the effects online marketing and social media have on their brand, and in particular the amount of traffic online video contests can bring to a site.
Here is a look at several company-sponsored video contests from the past and present:
- Cingular/YouTube Underground Contest – Back in September of 2006, Cingular became the first major marketer to sign on to a user-generated video contest. All you had to do was submit a video of your band and you could be featured on TV and on the new Cingular phone. Over 2000 videos were entered with the winning video receiving 960,000 views.
- Heinz Ketchups “Top This TV” – Heinz is offering $57,000 to the person/s who can come up with the best ‘family-oriented’ commercial involving their product. The contest has only been running for two months and the YouTube channel has already received 870,000 views.
- Mentos Geysers – Remember that video circulating the internet featuring the two ‘scientists’ re-creating the Bellagio fountains using only Diet Coke and Mentos? Mentos decided to embrace the video and ran a contest asking users to create their own videos featuring ‘Mentos Geysers’. The contest ran from July – September and featured 132 videos, the winning entry fetching 24,000 views.
- UpStage by Samsung – Have a new phone coming out? Does it play music? What better way to promote it then with a lip-synching contest? At least that was the idea Samsung came up with to promote their new UpStage phone. The contest ran for less than a month and over 252 videos were entered, some receiving over 1 million views.
The list of companies running video contests goes on and on. American Express ran the “My Life. My Card.” contest, Quiksilver is running a contest featuring the best surf video, E-bay is asking users to submit videos detailing how E-bay has transformed their lives and even the Idaho Potato Commission is looking for homemade videos featuring Idaho potatoes.
The bottom-line is this: Online video contests created with the proper incentive can not only drive tons of traffic to your site but also allow you to reach an audience you may not normally be able to at a relatively low cost. Just make sure you aren’t doing it like these guys.