$350 Million “BrandTech” group acquires a majority stake in Mofilm

Mr. Jones of "You and Mr. Jones"
Mr. Jones of “You and Mr. Jones”

It sounds like our friends over at Mofilm have a new boss.  Last week it was announced that the world’s first “brandtech” group, You and Mr. Jones has acquired a majority ownership stake in Mofilm.  The group was created by David Jones, a “founding member of the Facebook client council and former global CEO of advertising group HAVAS.”  Jones wanted to launch an investment and development firm that would “bridge the gap between brands and technology.”  Apparently Jones isn’t the type of guy to do anything half-assed because he managed to raise $350,000,000 for his new venture.  According to TechCrunch, You and Mr. Jones will use that money to “acquire companies that create user- and machine-generated content” and that focus on brand and content strategy, social media marketing, programmatic media buying, multi-channel networks, and real-time measurement analytic. The group’s first two acquisitions were Mashable and Mofilm and it sounds like more high-profile purchases are already in the works.

So what does this mean for the filmmakers that use Mofilm?  It means the company’s financial future will be nice and secure for years to come.  And that’s good news for the entire Crowdsourced Video Community.  There’s been a lot of “Video Contest News” in the last 6 weeks but unfortunately it’s all been pretty grim.  Userfarm and Poptent pulled the plug on their new joint effort, Vizy, after a few disappointing weeks.  Vizy was Poptent’s last hope of survival so once the merger with Userfarm was dead, Poptent also had to shut down.  Poptent is so broke that the company stopped paying their staff and eventually someone just locked everyone out of the main office in Philadelphia.  These developments have caused a lot of panic because it looks like Poptent will probably wind up declaring bankruptcy.  And that means dozens of filmmakers will get screwed out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.

But thanks to this Jones guy, filmmakers can enter Mofilm contest and not worry about whether or not they’ll actually recive their prize money.  It’s really funny how these type of things work out.  The market has rewarded a good company (Mofilm) and eliminated the crappy company (Poptent.)  It’s survival of the fittest.  The folks at Mofilm actually care about their clients AND their filmmakers and the market took notice of that.  On the other hand, Poptent spent the last few years screwing their members.  All of the best filmmakers left the site which meant that their clients were unsatisfied with the ads they received.  Sales went down and eventually the investors got tired of  bailing out a sinking ship and pulled the plug.

So anyway, this You and Mr. Jones stuff is great news for all of us.  I have a feeling Mofilm will start running a lot more contests and I also suspect their prize packages are going to get bigger.  And that in turn will probably drive up prize amounts on all the other (remaining) video contest sites.

By the way, Mr. Jones, if you’re reading this I just wanted to let you know that for the right price I suppose I would consider selling VCN.  Ask any filmmaker and they’ll tell you this site is basically the Mashable of the video contest world so you’d be crazy not to make an offer!

Mofilm’s 2015 “Las Vegas” winners

Let me tell you something, I love Last Vegas.  I love it.  I hate to gamble but I love the city.  I even lived there for a while after college.  I love it there because there’s always a million things to do, food and entertainment are cheap (because casinos are trying to lure in gamblers), everyone on the strip is in a good mood and the weather is always amazing.  I used to hawk timeshares and I’d spend my days standing in front of rinky-dink joints like The Frontier or The Casino Royal.  But even when it was 110 degrees I liked being outside because the sun and the dry desert air were invigorating.  And one of the greatest sensations in the world has got to be standing on Las Vegas Boulevard in July and then walking into an ice cold casino.  A lot of places will just have huge open lobbies and they keep the hot air out by blasting  a curtain of air conditioning down from the ceiling.  It’s like a force field.  At the end of the day I’d get back to my apartment and I’d dive right into the pool.  Man, I should really try and go to Vegas this year.  Hey, I know….maybe I’ll enter Mofilm’s “Las Vegas” competition in the fall!  If I win one of the top prizes, I’ll get a free trip!  And that free trip would look a little something like this….

Damn, that looked like a lot of fun.  The 1st place brand winners from this competition were pretty impressive.  Here’s one of them:

You can watch the other big winners here, here and here.  All of the grand prize winners received $8,000 plus a trip for two to Las Vegas.  Mofilm’s 2016 Vegas competition is still a long ways away, but they just launched their annual Cannes Lions competition.  Everyone knows that Cannes is the Vegas of France so I guess winning a trip there wouldn’t be so bad.  For details, head here: http://mofilm.com/competitions/event/Cannes-2015

How Mofilm works for Brands

The judges over at FritoLay were supposed to announce their semi-finalist picks for the Crash the Super Bowl contest on Monday.  But it’s now Thursday night and the semi-finalist’s gallery over at crashthesuperbowl.doritos.com is still empty.   So while we wait for the results I figured I would post a neat little video about Mofilm.  This promo was created for brand managers but Mofilm filmmakers might be interested in some of its behind-the-scenes info:

After I finished watching that promo a link to a Mofilm playlist popped up and I clicked on it.  It turned out to be pretty interesting.  The playlist includes a bunch of interviews with filmmakers from all over the world who have won a bunch of Mofilm prizes.  You should watch a few if you feel like getting inspired and/or jealous!

Via Mashable: “The Ad Industry has made peace with Crowdsourcing”

Still from “Speed Chaser,” a Chevy ad produced for a 2014 Mofilm contest

Here’s your Fun Fact of the Day:  The term “Crowdsourcing” was coined in 2005 by Jeff Howe, a contributing editor for Wired magazine.  During a pitch meeting, Howe said he wanted to write about companies that were using amateurs from the Internet to produce content that would normally be created by professionals.  Another Wired Editor, Mark Robinson, said “Hmmm … it’s like they’re outsourcing to the crowd.”  Howe automatically condensed the phrase and jokingly declared “it’s crowdsourcing.”  Six months later Wired published Howe’s article, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” and the author’s joke immediately became the accepted term for the trend.

We’ve come a long way since 2005.  In the last 9 years, Doritos has run their Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest eight times, major brands have bought hundreds of low-budget “homemade” ads and at least a dozen crowdsourced video sites have been launched.  For years professional ad makers looked down their noses at all the desperate “amateurs’ out there who were willing to enter video contests and produce work for free.  But after 9 long years, the war between the pros and the semi-pros may finally be over.  According to Mashable, the ad industry has “made peace” with crowdsourcing.  But it’s not like they had much choice in the matter.  Major brands like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Frito-Lay, Chevy, Microsoft and McDonald’s (to name just a few) have fallen in love with the fun, quirky, low-cost, high-quality ads that “the crowd” has been able to produce.  So I guess professional ad makers and agencies have finally realized it was time to stop hatin’ and start participatin’.

The Mashable article is actually pretty good and definitely worth a read.  It includes lots of videos from Tongal and Mofilm contests plus the author did interviews with some of the nice folks that work for those sites:  http://mashable.com/2014/10/21/the-ad-industry-has-made-peace-with-crowdsourcing

Mofilm rocks Chicago!

Mofilm’s 2014 Lollapalooza winners

There are two types of Chicago-landers; those who love Lollapalooza and those who try and avoid it at all costs.  The music festival draws about 300,000 people to the center of the city so the congestion and crowds are a little insane.  I used to belong to the “avoid at all costs” camp but there is one thing that can get me downtown during the first weekend in August; Mofilm’s annual Lollapalooza awards dinner at Smith & Wollensky.  The nice folks at Mofilm always send me an invite and for the first time since 2011 I was actually able to attend.  As always, Mofilm treated their winners like rockstars and threw an awesome little party.  I wish I could post the winning ads but unfortunately the brands haven’t debuted them online yet.  But the first place winners were Nikki Parlane of New Zealand for Friskies, Robert Burdsall of Los Angeles for Cisco, Ilze Myburgh of South Africa for Castrol and Marc Riera Madurga of Barcelona for Boost Energy Drink.

I took a bunch of photos with my cell phone and I was planning on posting them below.  But they didn’t turn out so great so I’ll mix in a bunch of the professional shots that I ganked from Mofilm’s Facebook page.

Cocktail time
Cocktail time
The view at Smith & Wollensky ain't too bad
The view at Smith & Wollensky ain’t too bad
I was tempted to grab this whole thing and run out the door with it
Me and my friend Amelia.  Just out of frame is the giant pile of shrimp I was eating
The Mofilm team
The Mofilm team
The Mofilm awards.
The awards just before they got to meet their new owners
Mofilm’s Richard Cottrell kicks things off
Handing out the awards
Handing out the awards
The winners show off their whale tails
The winners show off their whale tales
Nikki Parlane at Smith & Wollensky Chicago Steakhouse.
The judges gave their grand prize to Nikki Parlane for her Friskies video
Goodnight Chicago!

If you’re feeling a little jealous of these happy folks you might want to head to Mofilm.com and try and win one of their current competitions.  They have 17(!) live briefs right now and the winners will all receive trips to destinations like London, New York, Africa and Singapore.  http://mofilm.com/briefs/open