Are Video Contests Wagging the Dog?

One of the really strange things about video contests, if you think about it, is their inward-facing nature.

Consider: Marketers are trying to get amateur video producers to make advertisements in exchange for a prize. But in order to solicit entries, substantial sums are spent publicizing the contest. Ostensibly this creates “buzz,” but more realistically it’s simply a necessity, given the difficulty of acquiring quality entries.

If you don’t believe this, look at the ads promoting contests — typically, they’re targeted not at the mass market, but at the infintesimally small group of people who might possibly submit a decent video. The tail, in other words, begins to wag the dog.

Where, in this expensive messaging, is the consumer benefit? Does the consumer care about a contest in which she has zero stake?

Marketers need to consider these questions.

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