Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Nature of an Online Video Competition

(UPDATE: Zooppa was required to take all of the videos down from the competition after winners were announced.  If you would like to see the final commercial that aired before the Superbowl, go HERE. Our clips aired at 0:04seconds and 0:15seconds.)

 We have had a lot of success in the past entering video commercial competitions, like these.  However, sometimes they can be a bit risky.  We put a lot of time and energy into these competitions because they have the possibility for a great cash prize AND recognition from a top corporation, like Microsoft, 3M, or Hormel. But sometimes your time and energy can also = zilch if the company doesn't choose your video.

Don't get me wrong, It's been well worth the risk! Using the prize money from past commercial competitions, we were able to take our busines full time without taking out a business loan to pay for our overhead costs!  What a blessing!!  And, if you think about it, we have some great vides to include in our portfolio.

Here are some past entries that didn't quite make the cut, much to our frustration:

We've found the best way to reduce the risk is to reduce the cost of the production:  If you spend $0 on the production and keep it very simple, you don't lose money...only a lot of time...which equals money...hmm...

....ok, moving on...

Well, this LATEST competition has been a doozy!

The mission was to make a 15 second video for Pizza Hut with people playing football and saying "Hut, hut, hut!".  The best videos may be chosen for a possible spot during the CBS pregame show prior to the Superbowl kickoff.

Awesome competition, right??

Well that was two weeks ago.  HERE is the video that we created first based on what we understood Pizza Hut was looking for. (Stephen even threw in some nifty special fx and digital snow... it just so happened to begin snowing half way through the shoot!) (If you would like to see the final commercial that aired before the Superbowl, go HERE.)

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for the rules, deadlines, and requirements to be changed throughout the competition, so we have to constantly keep track of any updates.  Already they've extended the deadline for this competition 2x!!  They've also added more prizes, which is nice.

Yet, this tends to get a little frustrating.  While we do compete against some amazing companies and individuals, we also often compete against those with just a camera phone and no story or production quality.  And sometimes these individuals will submit a video after the first deadline.   There are plenty of great submissions well worth the prize they win.  Other times you look at the video chosen and wonder, "what the heck were these companies thinking?!? Was this just a random drawing?"  What makes it worse is that they wouldn't have even been in the competition if the company hadn't extended the deadline in the first place.

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that people with only camera phones shouldn't compete.  It's perfectly ok for them to submit an entry.  One purpose behind these online competitions is for large companies to get creative ideas from the public! It's just frustrating when we think we have a quality video that the client would want and then they choose another video.

Yet, that's the nature of these competitions.

Back to my story.  What we didn't realize when we filmed the first video for this specific competition is that Pizza Hut wasn't looking for the regular professional video that we would think they would ask for.  They were apparently looking for amateur videos of "real people" playing football.  Meaning, they only wanted iPhone-quality videos of people playing football so they can make a montage of the best "Huts!" for a larger commercial. (At least that's what we gather from the revised brief.)

...Except, Pizza Hut didn't make this clear until recently.

Ok, back to the drawing board: the rules changed again.  Now we could upload multiple videos AND it didn't have to be exactly 15 seconds. They also said that we shouldn't include shots of Pizza Hut we decided to make a video of "real" people playing football.  Less production, still good quality, kinda funny, but more what we thought Pizza Hut was looking for.

HERE is the second video we produced: (If you would like to see the final commercial that aired before the Superbowl, go HERE.)

We also uploaded THIS video and THIS last minute video, which were more "amateur" edits of our first video...desperately hoping Pizza Hut would at least choose one of the four videos that we entered! 

Now we wait...sometimes they make us wait for close to 2 months...

However, since there is a possibility for these videos to be in a commercial before the Superbowl, hopefully we should see the winners within a week...did I say hopefully?
Which video do you like the best??

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