Will press coverage help your chances in the Crash the Super Bowl contest?

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I have a Google News alert set for the phase “Crash the Super Bowl” and those alerts have been blowing up my inbox all month.  A few news sites covered FritoLay’s final call for entries but most of the stories I’ve seen came from local news outlets and were about people who entered the contest.  And if you read these articles or watch these segments, it’s pretty obvious that the featured actors or filmmakers are the ones who contacted the media and pitched their story.  Here are a few samples of what I’m talking about:

Hanford Sentinel:  Local filmmaker competing in commercial contest for Doritos

Salt Lake City Tribune:  Utah commercial shows what really goes on during sexy time

The Sheboygan Press:  North High student is All In on commercial

Vicksburg Exponent Telegram:  Bridgeport native submitting video for Doritos contest

FOX-Kansas City:  Area filmmaker attempts to have his commercial air during super bowl

NBC-Lexington KY:  Doritos smoothie could put grad student in National Spotlight

NBC-Atlanta:  Doritos ad with Atlanta ties among most viewed in Super Bowl contest

Those stories are just the tip of the iceberg.  Every year I see a few articles about local Crash the Super Bowl contestants but I’ve never seen 3 or 4 articles a day before.  These stories are weirdly fascinating because most of the featured filmmakers clearly have no idea how the Crash the Super Bowl contest actually works.  Most of them are trying to get some press coverage because they think that extra views and votes will help them make the finals.    (Just for the record:  Views and votes have ZERO impact in the first stage of the Crash the Super Bowl contest)  Here’s are a few paragraphs from the Hanford Sentinel story.  I’ll highlight important passages in orange.

HANFORD — A local filmmaker is competing for a chance to have his video be the next Doritos spot that will air live during the most watched sporting event in the United States.

Joshua C——-, owner and founder of R——–, a local film production company, has submitted his 30-second video “Bad Dog” in the annual Doritos “Crash The Super Bowl” commercial contest.

For the competition, contestants submit short video spots, judges select semi-finalists and then the world is allowed to vote for their favorite from the pool of finalists. The winner gets to have his video air live during the football game, wins $1 million cash, a trip to watch the Super Bowl and a trip to New York for a behind-the-scenes tour of the next “Avengers” movie, “Age of Ultron.”

But, for now, Cordero has to make it through the first phase of the contest.

“I’m still waiting to hear if I’m even a semi-finalist,” he said. “They will let me know on Dec. 11.”

He said that in order to move on, the judges will pick the semi-finalists based on certain criteria. One of those criteria is video views and ratings.

“I need my supporters to go to Doritos.com, watch and rate the video,” he said. “The more views and ratings it gets the more likely I might become a semi-finalist.”

Cordero then explained that on Jan. 4, voting will open to the public and his fans can vote for his video once every day until the contest ends, and if his video gets the most votes, he will win.

It’s clear this filmmaker never bothered to look at the official rules.  It’s also clear that this guy thinks he’s a lock for the Top 5.  He’s already planing his strategy for when he makes the finals!  I could be a dick and post his entry but I won’t.  His video did make me chuckle but as you can probably guess, there’s pretty much zero chance the judges will pick his entry.

As I said, most of the stories that wind up in my in-box are pretty similar to that article.  The featured director asks people to help him win by watching his (not very good) commercial and rating it five-stars.  In many cases, the filmmakers have high hopes and are confident that they’re going to make the finals because their ad is already one of the Top-Rated or Most-Viewed submissions.

This type of self-promotion might sound harmless but these articles could actually lead to some unforeseen, negative consequences.  For one thing, some a-hole blogger could post a link to your story and say snarky things about it.  But worse than that, press coverage might cause your cast and crew and family and friends to really get their hopes up.  Your teammates may think “Hey, if NBC Atlanta bothered to send a TV crew to cover our efforts, we must really have a shot at winning!”  But NBC Atlanta (and really any news outlet in the world) is always on the look out for fun, easy stories.  So the TV crew isn’t showing up because your entry is amazing; the TV crew shows up because you’re a local and your story comes with some amusing, pre-shot visuals.

So if you keep telling people that views and votes will help you win, and if your local paper backs up that idea (few reporters are going to bother checking the rules to see if you know what you’re talking about) then your friends are going to be in for a huge let down.  After everyone finds out that your incredibly “popular” entry didn’t even make the semi-finals, you’re going to be receiving a lot of messages from people asking the same thing: “Dude, what happened?  We were on TV!  We were  the #2 most viewed entry out of like 5,000 videos!  How could we not win!??!”

Now having said all that, as long as you have your facts straight, a story in the Salt Lake City Tribune or the Vicksburg Telegram won’t really have any impact on your chances of making the finals.  A story won’t help, but it also won’t hurt.  So if you want to use the Crash the Super Bowl contest as an excuse to bulk up your production company’s press packet, I say go ahead and contact a local reporter.

Thanks for making November our biggest month ever!

Hey folks, It’s your BFF for life Beardy, here.  Every year we see a giant spike in traffic thanks to our coverage of the Crash the Super Bowl contest and I always like to do a quick post welcoming our new readers to the site.  And man, did we get a lot of new readers last month!  During the summer I made some SEO changes to VCN that caused traffic to increase by about 300%.  So when you throw a bunch of CTSB traffic on top of those figures the results are pretty amazing.  November 2011 turned out to be our biggest month ever with 13,901 Unique Visitors.  To quote the great Charles Dickens, that shite is redonkulous!

Here are  few other random things I want to mention:

If you’re here for Crash the SuperBowl info, we’ll be running a whole bunch of posts about the contest over the next 2 1/2 months. Next week we’ll even be featuring an interview with one of the 2011 CTSB finalists.  And of course, we’ll post the Top 5 videos (along with reviews and analysis) as soon as Doritos makes the results public.

Next I want to say Thanks to all the filmmakers out there that sent in the links to their Doritos entries.  I’ve decided to extend my “free mini-review offer” for a few more days.  So far, I’ve crtiqued more than 100 submissions and I am pretty sure that at least one or two of the videos I’ve seen will wind up making the finals.  If you’d still like to get a mini-review of your ad, please post the link in the comment section of this article:  videocontestnews.com/2011/11/21/we-want-to-see-your-crash-the-super-bowl-entries/

As I’ve mentioned, I’m trying to do the impossible this month.  I’m trying to watch at least a few seconds of every, single Crash the Super Bowl entry.  (By the way, there were just under 5,000 submissions this year.)  My goal is to compile a list of the 50 or so best submissions.  The list will be posted on December 14th.

If you’re a new reader, I just want to mention that Video Contest News is a year-round operation.  We run two or three posts a week about different contests.  If you’re having a problem with a contest, let us know!  Companies hate bad publicity and a single article about a crappy contest can sometimes inspire the sponsors to fix whatever has gone wrong.  Or hey, you can even let us know if you have some good news to report!  We post a lot of winning entries so if you’ve recently won a nice contest prize, I want to hear about it.  You can reach me here:  VideoContestNews@gmail.com.

Finally, if you like you can only stand to read 140 characters of video contest news at a time, follow us on twitter here.  This month we’ll be “following back” all of our new followers!

Follow VCN on Twitter (finally)

Follow us...to the gates of hell!

For a good long time I looked at Twitter with disgust and trepidation. Micro-blogging? Feh! I’m too much of a big-mouth to limit my outbursts to just 140 characters! But it finally hit me that starting a Twitter page for VCN would actually make a lot of sense. I come across tons of links and stories and stuff that are interesting but I just don’t have time to blog about all of them. So thanks to our new Twitter page I can post all that stuff and save the “big” news stories for the blog.

But the best thing about the Twitter page is that I can use it to promote new contests. I get requests all the time from companies asking me if I would blog about their contest and encourage people to enter. There are several other sites out there that already do a great job of listing new contests so I’ve basically stopped announcing them here. But here’s the thing….when these contest organizers e-mail me, it’s usually because they are starting to get desperate for videos. In most cases, their contest has already been running for weeks or months but they haven’t been getting many (or any) entries.  With their deadline just around the corner the organizers make a last minute attempt to scrounge up some submissions.  So when you see a contest being promoted on our Twitter page, it probably means it’s in desperate need of decent entries!

So, Twitter time has finally come.  Here’s the link to our feed:  http://twitter.com/Beardy_VCN Follow us, won’t you?  And since I understand that everyone on the Internet is an attention whore, I promise VCN will follow any one who starts following us during the month of January.  Oh and if you ever see anything you think I should tweet about, lemme know at videocontestnews@gmail.com.

What’s all this then?

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Our Editor: Beardy McContest Winner

I know what you’re thinking; “Video Contest News?  WTF is this supposed to be?  Aren’t there a ton of websites out there that list video contests already?”  Well yes…yes there are.  That’s why we ain’t doing that.  You might find an occasional listing here but those will only be for contests that are begging to be entered and won by someone with a tiny sliver of talent.  For the most part, this website will be dedicated to providing something that is lacking on the web; commentary and news about video contests.

These days it seems like every marketing guy and their momma is trying to entice us Joe Handycams into shooting ads for their company.  There’s a lot of cash and a ton of prizes waiting to be won in online video contests and if you have even a smidge of writing, shooting or editing skills, all that awesome stuff could be yours!

But you’re a busy guy/gal/contest winning robot.  There are roughly 103,628 (editor’s estimate) video contests open at any time so how are you supposed to stay on top of them all?   How many times have you wondered what video eventually went on to win what contest?  A million?  And how many times have you wondered why the heck a contest was being run so crappily?  A billion maybe!?  Well wonder no more.  Not only will we be posting results but we’ll also be digging up news about how and why video contests are being run the way they are.  So you guys focus on winning ‘em and we’ll cover the aftermath of your glorious victories and/or pathetic defeats!

In the meantime, if you have some video contest news that you think we should be covering, drop us a line at VideoContestNews@gmail.com.