In the entire history of online video contests, no company has ever offered a one million dollar prize. Yeah sure, two teams of filmmakers have won million dollar prizes in Dorito’s Crash the Super Bowl contest, but those prizes weren’t guaranteed. They were bonuses for scoring the #1 spot on the USA Today Super Bowl ad meter. So there has never been a real, “million dollar video contest”….until now. On May 18th, Gain detergent launched the “Smell Like a Million Bucks” video contest. Can you guess what the prize is? Yep…one million dollars. Well, 10 annual payments of $100,000 to be more precise. According to Gain, this is the first time they’ve ever run with such a huge prize. So why did they choose to do this promotion as a video contest? Well I got to do an e-mail interview with the friendly folks at Gain and here’s what they told me:
Gain consumers are so passionate about Gain, they love interacting with the brand in high engagement ways. We want to celebrate our fans and their loyalty, so what better way to do it than to run a contest that truly showcased our fans in a visual way – so we could see them, hear their voice and celebrate their passion for our brand.
But Gain’s not just going to give away a million bucks for nothing. If you want to have a shot at the top prize you’ve gotta get creative and do a little work. To enter, you need to shoot a video that is 60 seconds or less that illustrates how Gain detergent helps keep your clothes smelling great. You even need to include the phrase “I use Gain and I smell like a million bucks!” for your entry to count.
All entries need to be uploaded to Gain’s Facebook page. Gain will pick 25 finalists based on 2 factors: a Creative Score and number of views. Getting a “view” isn’t all that easy though. For a view to count, a unique person must watch your video all the way through from beginning to end. And a person can only “view” a video one time a day. So if you want to boost your view count you’re going to have to really promote your entry hard on facebook.
Next, Gain will pick 25 finalists and then they will open up the field to a public vote. Whichever video gets the most votes wins the million dollar prize. That’s pretty heavy. If you’ve ever entered a vote-based video contest before you know how brutal they can be. Every vote-based video contest I have entered in the last two years ended suspiciously. It seems that a lot of people just can’t resist the urge to cheat…probably because it’s so easy to do in an online vote. And with a million bucks up for grabs, I’m a little worried that this contest might turn into an all-out cheating war.
A lot of contest sponsors simply don’t care if cheaters win. Apparently it’s just too much trouble to figure out if someone won an Ipad or a thousand bucks fair and square. But when $1,000,000 is at stake, the sponsor has no choice but to care. A Million Dollars isn’t an $800 Ipad. If a finalist creates a bunch of facebook accounts and votes for his or her own video a few hundred (or a few thousand) times they’d be committing a MAJOR crime. Seriously, it would be a million dollar fraud. A person would probably do jail time for something like that. But to Gain’s credit, they seem to be genuinely concerned about cheating. I’ve read a lot of video contest rules and it’s amazing how sometimes some companies don’t even explicitly prohibit self-voting. But Gain lays down the law in their official rules:
Any attempt by the Entrant and/or his/her family/friends to vote more than the number of times authorized herein, using any third party proxy voting services, using multiple names or e-mail addresses and/or any other fraudulent mechanism(s), including robotic, automatic, programmed or similar methods, shall give the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, the right to disqualify the Entrant’s Entry.
I asked Gain if they were concerned that one of their finalists might try and cheat. Here’s what they told me:
We always run contests with safeguards in mind to assure the contest is run with integrity and lawfully. Gain takes such contests very seriously and puts many measures in place to ensure the outcome is legitimate and appropriate.
Gain also confirmed that they will verify the votes before officially declaring a winner. So, it seems like this should be a tightly run contest. If you’re thinking of entering you better get moving. The deadline is still 24 days away but already 100 entries have been submitted! And some of them are pretty good. Even the Barenaked Ladies submitted an entry!!
Ok, maybe that was shot just to promote the contest.
This is a pretty interesting competition so I’m going to be following it closely. So stay tuned for updates. If any of you VCN readers submit an entry, send me the link and maybe I can post it or tweet it and help you get some views.