Video Contest Sponsors: Beware of Drawbacks

The number of video contests being sponsored by marketers continues to rise. Brands as diverse as Heinz, AccuWeather and Mr. Clean have gotten in on the act. And in the background is a constant drum of contests at video site Metacafe, and various contest-only sites such as Bix.

Marketers preparing to jump in should beware of three major challenges facing this increasingly popular publicity format:

First is dilution. Contests that culminated by airing winning usertisements during the Super Bowl stood out, but smaller contests since then have competed with one another for attention without the benefit of a large built-in audience.

Second is audience development. Again, the comparison is to the Super Bowl, which is an event in itself, whereas most video contests aren’t.
Third is attracting entries. This may seem counterintuitive given the massive numbers of videos posted to YouTube with no thought to getting paid, but most content worth watching is posted by a small number of talented semi-professional usertainers who are very strategic about what they create, and where they post it. Luring them to produce quality, original content limited to a single contest venue can be a major challenge.


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