36 thoughts on “Gain’s “Smell Like a Million Bucks” winner is revealed

  1. Did you actually watch the video? It clearly shows that they put on their wives shirts by mistake after following the gain smell in the dark. They sing about gain (which I didn’t know automatically made someone gay, bi, transgendered, or a crossdresser) then the main guy is making fun of his neighbor who is wearing his wifes shirt because he too followed the gain smell in the dark and didn’t pay attention to what he put on. It has nothing to do with “cross dressing” and to say that gain should get heat for it is ridiculous. Not everything is a controversial issue.

  2. Mary,

    I certainly understand that position. But everyone looks at a video like this subjectively. What may be harmless to you can feel negative and offensive to someone else. Filmmakers can’t dictate how people will feel about things. That’s why ad makers try and create commercials that couldn’t possibly offend anyone, anywhere. I thought this video was in bad taste even before it made the finals. So I’m suprised Gain gave it their stamp of approval.

    Also, just for the record, you are a friend of Lance Merkley’s, correct? I saw from my traffic logs that your comment came from Pasco, WA. By a weird coincidence, I have a friend from Pasco and I know it’s in the “Tri cities” with Richland which is where the winner is from. It’s totally cool that you want to comment on this post. i just think it’s important for readers to know that you are also looking at Lance’s video subjectively. If you didn’t know the people who made it you might be able to see how some could consider it to be offensive.

  3. UGC has come a long way! Idea is B+ but filmmaking is C-. Any clue on how he racked up the votes?

  4. Gain does not deserve to get a little heat for picking this video, and I bet they aren’t embarrassed by the video that won the million dollars either.

    You may not be aware, but the first round was judged on 80% creativity and 20% on votes, coming from Facebook members. I would suppose that Gain judged on the 80% part, but don’t know for sure. The 20% had nothing to do with Gain, only Facebook. One had to be a member of Facebook to vote. The second round was 100% on votes, and the only ones that could vote were Facebook members. If you look at the popular age of Facebook members, they are not old people; they are younger people, so if they voted for the video, certainly they didn’t think it was offensive. I have a tendency to think disgustingly on things that in my estimation are immoral, but I sure didn’t think it was immoral in the least. You need to look at it a few times and you will agree that this is humor just like Mary said above: “It clearly shows that they put on their wives shirts by mistake after following the gain smell in the dark. They sing about gain, then the main guy is making fun of his neighbor who is wearing his wifes shirt because he too followed the gain smell in the dark and didn’t pay attention to what he put on.” There is also a comment window following each video in the competition. You need to watch the video a couple of times and then read the comments. People wouldn’t have written comments if they felt the video was inappropriate. I read everyone of them. Here are a couple:
    “Very funny; great ad; I can relate.” “I think it is a great ad. I speak as a husband who dressed in the dark for years. The ad is funny but realistic too.”

  5. Sandy,

    The average age of facebook users is 44. So it’s not accurate to say facebook users tend to be “younger people.” Also, random facebook users were not voting in this contest. The people who voted for Lance M’s video know him. The point of the contest was to get the finalists to get their friends and family to vote for him.

    So let’s be clear, hundreds of random “young people” did not randomly find this contest, like the Gain fan page, allow the contest app, watch all 25 videos and then decided that Lance M’s video was the best. His friends and family voted for him because they know him. There’s nothing wrong with that but let’s not cloud the truth here. If I was 18 and my uncle or boss was in this contest I would vote for him regardless of whether or not his video was any good.

    Also, you’re mistaken about how the finalists were chosen. The finalists were picked like this: a video was given a creative score of 1 to 5 stars. Those starts were then translated into a percentage. Then a video’s view count was multiplied by that percentage. So 2 1/2 stars equals 50% times a view count of 1000 would equal a final score of 500.

  6. I’m honestly surprised Tyler S. didn’t win. He promoted his video to an extreme degree.

    But for one thing, I do think you’re wrong about this video. I thought it was great and the humor will appeal to younger kids. Mary is right, it was an accident when the man put on his wife’s clothes. He followed the smell of Gain and put on whatever he found. He didn’t realize what he was wearing. This was backed up when he made fun of his neighbor who went through the same thing.

    They’re might have been some slant here, but otherwise the video was great in my opinion.

  7. Beardy: I really don’t know what good our conversation is doing, do you? I do not care how the finalists were chosen. We just know that there were 25 finalists and Lance M won. I am 68 years old and I consider “younger people” to be in their 30‘s and 40‘s, and probably you are correct in your average age of 44. Do you have any idea how many votes any of the contestants received in the final round, because I don’t think anyone knows, not even the winners unless they are given that information later one. Further, I don’t think anyone knows how many “random” votes came in; and further, the point of the contest was to win by getting more votes than any other contestant. There aren’t that many friends and family to create enough votes for any contestant to win a million dollar contest. The votes had to come from a lot of social networking. One contestant appearing on a television interview in Colorado stated that 30,000 to 40,000 votes would be needed to win. I don’t know how he knew that but nobody has that many friends and family to bring in that number of votes, let alone, getting them all aware of the contest within one week of beginning the second round, all effectively working together to get the most votes to win. If that contestant figured that high a number, or even half or a fourth that amount, you can see that there aren’t enough friends and family to make enough votes to win a million dollar nationwide contest. In looking at the various links of the other contestants, probably a week into the final round, there was another contestant who appeared on a local television show, trying to muster up the people in his city to vote for his video. With that one and the one in Colorado, it is certainly obvious that they both knew they had to get a lot of votes from local people, and not just from family and friends. Wouldn’t those votes be considered “random” votes? Furthermore, I know all three of these men, and their intent was not to show anything gay or offensive; and what’s more, why would they want to? Would they want to chance losing a million dollar contest by putting on a questionably offensive video ad? Again, I say, if you would have watched their video a couple of times, you would have clearly seen the humor that Mary above tried to describe to you. I think it is sad that because you didn’t take one or two more looks at the video, you are now on this comment board misleading other people who didn’t even see it, into believing the video was gay and offensive. I challenge you to watch it two more times and then come back on this comment board and honestly say you think their video is offensive.

  8. Somewhat interesting convo. It’s even more interesting that Gain shelled out $1 mill for this contest. I can see during peak seasons like the Superbowl (Crash) or NCAA’s or something. Gain must be doing very well.

    As far as the vid is concerned, I didn’t think that it was offensive. It was closer to a bait and switch than anything “immoral”. I do believe that there are cheap laughs from cross dressing or accidental cross dressing but this clip lets it be known that the lead guy clearly wasn’t paying attention to what he had on. It was more about the smell, his euphoric feeling, and then later the shirt that the other guy had on.

    Trying not to be offensive to EVERYone can be tough. Not EVERYone will like a commercial. Same goes for songs or movies. When there’s a huge public outcry due to a show or clip then they may pull it. Out of 10,000 viewers, if a few hundred have comments it’ll probably remain on air (1 to 3%). There are soooo many reality shows that explicitly show gay individuals either wearing makeup or womens clothing that it has desensitized a lot of people. The real issue is with gaybashing. It’s not with dressing in feminine clothing.

    Congratulations to the winner. That’s a huge deal. More films and new equipment.

    Tieuel Legacy! Motion

  9. Sandy,

    I don’t mean to be rude but you do realize I run a website called “Video Contest News” correct? That means I sort of have to know a few things about how video contests work. I understand that the PLOT of Lance M’s video was that the guys got dressed in the dark. But the MESSAGE is that men acting like women is hilarious and weird. And that is an anti-gay message.

    And I’m a little offended that you think I’m just not sharp enough to get the true point of Lance’s video because I haven’t watched it enough. I’ve done at least 5 articles about the Gain contest. I have watched all of the finalist videos many times. I watched Lance’s entry probably 15 times just this week while working on this story. I’ve also been a filmmaker for half my life so I feel like I understand things like plot, subtext etc.

    Also, the guy who said it would take 40,000 votes to win the Gain contest was just saying that to get his friends and family to keep voting for him and to psych out his competition. If you know Lance, and if you saw that news story, the message did get to Lance and his supporters.

    I know how vote based contests worked. In two weeks of voting, I am guessing that Lance M won with less than 5,000 votes. That would be 357 votes a day. In a video contest that would be a landslide. Voting was VERY hard in this contest. I know how people think when it comes to online voting and strangers were just not voting for any of the contestants unless they had some kind of connection to them.

  10. No, I did not know you that you run a website, and I guess you should know a lot about what you are writing about. Why shouldn’t I think you wouldn’t understand the plot of Lance’s video when you are certainly off base with everyone else’s comments on this board. None agree with you. What story are you writing that has required you to watch his video 15 times this week? What makes you think the voting was VERY hard in this contest? It doesn’t appear to me that people had a hard time voting, anymore than you think they did. How do you know? Is it because you have a connection to their thinking? What does your website do for people?

  11. Sandy, you ARE ON the website Beardy RUNS!

    Sandy you are clearly a friend or related to the winner of this contest, good for you, but the video by Lance M certainly wasn’t the best, but since this was a voting contest he was able to get the MOST votes, so he obviously had a large social network voting for him because thats the ONLY way to win, its who you know and how many times you can get people to vote for you.

    Random people coming by the site aren’t going to be voting by the hundreds for your video, it just won’t happen, especially since you need to go through the process of allowing Gain to access your facebook page then enter a word in order to cast your vote, its a process, a process in which only friends and family will put up with doing. Sure there will be everyday people who vote, but for the most part its an individuals social network that wins a vote based contest.

    Beardy has his opinion on the contest and you need to accept it, but Lance won the lottery with a mediocre video that was somewhat offensive, I have a gay family member and his ad certainly rubbed me the wrong way.

  12. Well said Shane, thanks. I also have a gay family member so I guess i’m extra sensitive when it comes to this type of stuff. If someone doesn’t know any gay people and if you have never been exposed to the pain stereotypes like this can cause, I can see how they might think this was harmless and not offensive. But just because it is not offensive to them, that doesn’t mean other people’s feelings don’t matter. There is nothing to debate here. I was offended by the message of this video. So to Lance M’s friends, all I can say is you can’t tell me my feelings are wrong. They’re my feelings and I can’t control them.

  13. Sandy,

    I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not. I don’t run “a website.” I run THIS website. This site you’re on right now is mine. You asked what story I was working on that would require me to watch Lance M’s video 15 times. I was working on THIS story. The one you’re commenting on. I literally make my living running this website and entering video contests. So I’m not just some jerk shooting his mouth off.

    I know that voting was very hard in the Gain contest because I voted in the gain contest. To vote, a person had to:

    1. LIKE Gain’s facebook page
    2. Allow the Gain app which gives Gain access to a lot of your private account info.
    3. Find the right video
    4. Vote for it
    5. Fill in a captcha

    That is a ton of work just to vote for a stranger’s video. And who would give away all their personal facebook info just to vote for a stranger?

    Finally, you said that I am “off base with everyone else’s comments” here. That is because everyone who is leaving comments supporting Lance M seem to know him. I can tell from my website’s traffic logs that these comments are coming from the “tri cities” area of Washington state which is where Lance M is from.

  14. mightymattp,

    I’m not sure how Lance M got enough votes to win. The word on the Internet is that He’s a mormon and was somehow able to use the mormon community to help him get votes. At least that’s what I heard.

  15. Beardy,
    You’re taking this the wrong way. This commercial had no intentions of sending out an anti-gay message. If you watch the video again, you’ll see he doesn’t even realize he’s wearing his wife’s clothing.

  16. its not even that its offensive, its that people think a guy in woman’s clothing is automatically funny, and it’s just not, i didn’t find this commercial funny at all, and I honestly never even understood why he was wearing woman’s clothing until watching it many times.

  17. I have said this 10 times now but I will say it one last time. I doubt the guy who made this video set out to make an anti-gay gain commercial. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t anti-gay anyway. Just because the filmmaker didn’t realize some people might be offended by those “jokes” it doesn’t make it ok. The video offended me. End of story. That’s how I feel. If you’re a friend of the filmmaker you obviously feel differently. We are all entitled to our feel however we want about this. I think it will bother some people and I think it was a bad idea for gain to let this video into the finals for that reason.

  18. The definition of cross dressing is: the wearing of clothing and other accoutrement commonly associated with a gender within a particular society that is seen as different than the one usually presented by the dresser.

    Of course the director didn’t mean to make this an anti gay message. And it’s not. I respect opinions but sometimes opinions go to far. I see what Beardy is saying but I wouldn’t consider this cross dressing. I’m trying not to overuse the word accident but the actor was dressed with his wife’s clothes on complete mistake. He had no intention of wearing this and if he noticed he was, he would’ve taken it off. I think the director is rather portraying the actor as dumb, which also could be offensive to people. But sometimes directors have to take risks and in this case, it payed off(literally).

    Although I noticed the winners get paid 100,000$ a year? Hmm, I’d rather just take the million but I guess that might be illegal or something I really don’t know…

  19. Zach,

    Re-watch the video and pay attention to the second guy. You can’t tell me that guy wasn’t “acting gay” or channeling his inner drag queen. He was so over the top flamboyant that even the first actor had to laugh AT him.

  20. Beardy,

    That’s not what I saw. The message is that the other guy across the street is happy he smells so good. His happiness is thusly represented in dance moves, not dragqueen poses. His exact movements: air guitar strum followed by air drum playing. Everyone expresses their happiness in their own way, whether it’s a high five, dance, fist pump, whatever. The main character, Lance, laughs at the clothes, not the dances. He laughs at the clothes because he sees what his neighbor did was an accident. He particularly finds it funny when people make small mistakes such as this. It’s the equivalent to putting your shirt on backwards: may find it funny, may not.

  21. I understand the author’s concern with anti-gay stereotypes. I think it is unfortunate that he chooses to include anti-mormon stereotypes in this article. The author suggests some connection between mormons, anti-gay stereotypes and rigging a contest. This is incorrect.

    As a mormon who grew up in California, I was often harassed for my beliefs. Because of this I was the first one to stand up for anyone being harassed for their beliefs. My junior year a homosexual student moved into our high school. Moving to a new place is hard. My friends and I invited him to join our study group and went out of our way to help him feel welcome. When other students made fun of him I immediately put an end to it. Back then gay rights weren’t popular but since I was taught to “be kind to everyone” in mormon Sunday school I was the only one willing to stand up for this kid.

    If you think mormons get pleasure from making fun of homosexuals, you are extremely misinformed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    Mormons are not robots. The idea that a bunch of Mormons would vote for some video just because they are Mormon is false.

    I don’t understand why the author chose to decry the winning video as anti-gay and then endorse anti-mormon facebook comments in the same article. Personally I think we should be respectful and tolerant to all people including Mormons.

    I read this article because my parents are from the Tri-cities and my uncle is his neighbor. I have no idea if he is Mormon or not. I didn’t E-mail my parent to ask if my uncle’s neighbor was Mormon before I read this article that they mentioned in their e-mail. Perhaps Lance won because the Tri-cities pulled together for their home town guy. Why does the author keep pushing this Mormon connection in his comments especially if the majority of the comments are coming from IP addresses in the Tri-cities not Utah?

    FYI I am currently finishing a graduate degree out of state hence the Utah IP address. I am still a California resident.

  22. Why is it that when someone wins a contest they need to be considered a cheater? Could it be *gasp* that more people liked Lance’s video than the others?

  23. Ken,

    Whoa, whoa, whoa…I never said a thing about mormons being anti-gay. I only mentioned that the producer was a mormon in relation to how he was able to get enough votes to win. I said:

    “But according to some facebook users who know Lance M, they say that he’s a Mormon and that somehow he was able to get a lot of support from “Utah.””

    People who know and SUPPORT Lance M. were defending his win on facebook with that argument. They said he was able to get a lot of votes from “Utah.” A lot of people in vote-based contest are able to win by asking their church to get the word out. It’s very common. I thought I was actually helping his case by explaining how he could have won the vote fair ans square. Should I not have offered this explanation at the end of the article because earlier in the story I said I felt the video was anti-gay?

  24. Beardy,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for hosting this website and being an active participant in the comments. Re-reading my last post, I realize it is intense and accusatory. I’m sorry.

    The words “somehow was able to get votes from Utah” leaves it up to the reader to decided why people in Utah would give votes for this video. Your intent was to suggest that because of Mormon networking a bunch of Mormons in Utah would vote for this Mormon’s video. You did a good job of explaining that you did not think it was Lance’s intent to be offensive.

    During prop 8 in California the false notion that Mormons hate gays was blasted all over the media. With two Mormon presidential candidates, these misconceptions continue in the mainstream media. The story of a lower quality video that contains material offensive to homosexuals made by a Mormon and winning only because of support from Utah could cause those exposed to the misconception that Mormon’s are anti-gay to believe it a little more.

    I think if you had mentioned that it is a common thing for contestants to receive a ton of votes from their church regardless of quality in your article, your use of “somehow was able to get votes from Utah” could not be misinterpreted. I am sure that all of your regular readers understand the church vote thing perfectly. I suppose that this is the price you pay for having a sudden influx of new readers unfamiliar with video contests.

    This website is a fantastic resource. I will be forwarding a link to your website to friends of mine who are film majors and enthusiasts.

    Hasta Luego

  25. Ken,

    Thanks for that comment. I really appreciate it. You made some very good points so to be on the safe side, I added some more clarification to the article:

    “But according to some facebook users who know Lance M, they say that he’s a Mormon and that somehow he was able to get a lot of support from “Utah.” I’ve noticed that in a lot of big video contests, finalists will sometimes be able to get a lot of votes and publicity from their church. So it’s a pretty standard (and often successful) tactic.”

    Thanks again,

  26. I’m from the Tricities. I know of Lance Merkley, and I never voted for his video…in fact I didn’t vote for any of the videos. It just was a bigger pain in the neck than I felt like going through. I didn’t particularly love his video, but with that said I think you’re taking it a little far by saying it’s anti-gay. Seriously, there are so many things in this world we could stretch into being anti-SOMETHING…do we really need to go there for this?

    I did want to say for the record that I believe channeling Utah Mormons had nothing to do with Lance’s win. Lance, his family and friends spent many hours stumping the streets for their win. I was at more than one community activity where Lance and his family passed out rocks with a website written on them (can’t remember what the website was…sorry!), but basically it was instructions on how to vote for his video and help him out. He stood up before these activities and told his story, and asked people to help him out. He also promised to give his first year’s worth of winning to charity. There was non-stop advertising for him on Facebook, friends of his were constantly reminding their friends to vote daily for him. The Tricities is a large but tightly knit community, people rallied together to vote him to his win. I don’t think it had much to do with his church, and it certainly had nothing to do with the Utah Mormons banding together to make sure a mormon won the contest. 😉

  27. Well there you have it. Mayflower summed up the entire truth right there. Beardy, do more research on topics before you write articles, especially diminished ones. And before you judge any video of being anti anything or biast, rewatch the video and look at it from several perspectives.

    All that said, I really do like your website and encourage you to pursue it!

  28. Zach, I did a ton of research. That’s how I found out about the mormon connection. (not that there’s anything wrong with having church friends et the word out for you.) But I’m sure the winning team used lots of tactics to get votes.

    Although…now we seem to have a more interesting story on our hands. It sounds like the winner violated the rules of the contest. Contestants were explicitly told by Gain that they could not get people to vote for them by saying they would donate some of their winnings to charity. They also were told they could not give out gifts or prizes. Even “rocks with the website on them” would constitute gifts. At this point, it doesn’t matter but if Lance and his team had been caught doing those things during the voting they would have been disqualified.

  29. Well, that’s an interesting twist I didn’t think about. A rock WOULD constitute a gift even if it were used for advertising purposes. In regards to the charity comment I read that in the status updates of several of Lance’s many Facebook supporters who were giving their daily reminder to vote…never from his mouth. But obviously it started somewhere. I think it’s cool that he won and all…but I’m bothered if rules were disregarded. I wish I could remember what the name of his voting website was…

  30. Wow, this was unexpected. A Mormon cheating in a contest, and having his church help cheat with him. I have my doubts that this was unintentional, he must’ve read the rules beforehand. Not only that, but if the other contestants found out about this, Gain would be getting a lot of negative hype and it could make their company looks very bad. All this from a article about a contest o.o

    Either situation here, Lance didn’t deserve to win. My question is, if this gets out to the media, will Gain have a re-tally or will they take the negative responses and the chance of losing business?

  31. Zach, I don’t think lance’s church helped him cheat. In fact, I think his church probably helped him get a lot of votes fair and square.

    Gain told the finalists that they couldn’t tell people they were donating money to charities several days after the voting started. And one reason they made that rule was because of lance m. I’ve heard from several people that he didn’t comply with the rule change for a good number of days and he even kept the charity info on his site for a while. So I’m surprised he wasn’t disqualified.

    The non-winning finalists could probably get a lawyer to look into this but at this point, I’m guessing there’s not a lot they could do unless he actually committed fraud to win. Then it would be a federal case.

  32. I just want to thank gain for my prize bottle of Gain cleaning soap for my little message ” When I think of Gain” When I wash I think of Gain sheets washed in Gain hung on line Gain a fresh breeze. Hot shower at night Gain agood nights sleep “Feel like a million bucks” Gain another good days work could Gain a million bucks” Thank You.

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