Gain’s milllion dollar winners donate $100K to charity

Don't get excited....Gain will never run this contest again

Remember Gain Detergent’s huge “I Use Gain and I Smell Like Million Bucks” video contest?  Well the two guys who won the million dollar grand prize last summer, Lance Merkley and Doug Browning of Richland, WA just received their first payment of $100,000 from Proctor & Gamble and they did something pretty amazing with their winnings; they gave every penny away to various charities.  Hey, I’m sure you would have done the exact same thing if you had won…right?  This local news story has all the details:

This giant donation is pretty damn admirable for a few reasons.  First, these guys were under no obligation to do this.  I specifically remember that Gain prohibited finalists from promising to donate any of their winnings to charity.  Second, Gain is probably paying these guys in 10 annual installments of $100,000.  If I won a million bucks I’d like to think that I’d donate at least 10% but I know there’s no way I could just give away 100% of my first payment.  I don’t think anyone would have faulted these guys for giving away 10% percent of each check they got. After all, they’re probably going to have to wait a whole year before they get another check!  Don’t they have credit card debt or student loans or mortgages to pay off?

A quick recap of the best video contest entries of 2011

The phrase "Most Notable" wouldn't fit on the banner so I went with "Best"

Back in December I was planning on doing an article about the “Best Video Contest Entries of 2011.”  I did one in both 2010 and 2009 but I never got around to doing the 2011 list.  The thing is, 2011 wasn’t really a kick ass year for “consumer generated content.” There just weren’t many big stand outs.  So I figured that before we get any deeper into 2012 I’d just do a quick run down of the best video contest entries of the past year.  But here’s the thing; these entries aren’t really “the best.”  Anyone who has entered even a single video contest knows that the “best” entries don’t always win.  So let’s say that these are the most notable contest entries of 2011.  Basically this will be a list of the biggest winners of the past year.

In February, the Crash the Super Bowl finalist Pug Attack aired during the Super Bowl and scored the Million Dollar ad meter bonus.  But you know, I never really liked Pug Attack since it was just kind of a re-do of the CTSB winning ad, Underdog. One CTSB spot I did like though was the Pepsi Max commercial, Love Hurts.  That ad also aired during the game and won a $400,000 ad meter bonus.

The spring of 2011 was a very good time for a Lexington, KY man named Walt Arnett.  In March his “Cash America rap” won first place and $10,000 on Cash America’s Cash Rap video contest.  In May this video won him 1 of the 6 Mini Coopers that Dairy Queen gave away in their Mini Blizzard Treatment video contest.  And then just a week or so later his entry won the $150,000 grand prize in Excedrin’s What’s Your Headache video contest.  Interesting note: All three of these contests used facebook votes to determine the winners.

During the summer, Gain detergent awarded a million dollars to this video in their Smell Like a Million Bucks video contest.  The winner of that contest was determined by a public vote so of course the winning entry wasn’t that great.

And….that’s it.  Those were all the big contests on 2011.  It used to be that there were several big video contests a year where the grand prize would be at least $25,000.  And as far as I can remember, there weren’t any “make our TV commercial” contests last year either.  I guess that sites like Poptent, Tongal and Mofilm have made those kind of big contests unnecessary. But a few contest entries did make it onto TV in 2011.  In November, Triaminc started airing a Poptent-made ad entitled 102.  And this cool Mofilm-made ad, “Chevy Runs Deep” actually aired during the MLB AllStar game.

Now that I mention it, Mofilm ran a ton of huge video contests in 2011.  Each contest was based around a different film festival or arts event and each competition had an over all winner.  You can see all of the top Mofilm winners of 2011 in this convenient youtube playlist:

Finally, I think I’ll close out this list by naming VCN’s pick for The Best Video Contest Entry of 2011.  This was an easy call.  Top honors go to “Duct Tron” which won first place and $4,750 (?) in Tongal’s Stuck on Duct Tape competition.  Not only is it an amazing on a technical level, it actually has a hilarious surprise ending.  This ad wound up going viral and recived a crazy amount of love from the Internet.  Watch it and you will understand why.

If I missed any big 2011 contest entries leave a comment and let me know!