Want to write a Guest Post for VCN?

Brought to you by the US Dept. of Video Contests

I don’t know what’s changed but the amount of people who visit this website on a daily basis has just been going up and up all summer!  And that’s weird because usually the summer is VCN’s slowest time of the year.  But as far as traffic goes, July was our 3rd biggest month of 2011 and it looks like August’s numbers are going to crush July’s.  Maybe we moved up the google rankings a bit or maybe this is just another sign of how popular video contests in general are getting.  But I think one thing that’s happening is that the number of “regular readers” we get really shot up this year.  So if you’re one of those people who have us bookmarked and who check the site every week (or even every day!) thank you for your support!

We’re now getting so much traffic that I feel like I’m not really keeping up with the demand for new content.  This used to be a “2 posts a week” type of blog.  But lately I’ve been trying to do 3 posts a week.  For future reference, new posts will usually go up on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Because VCN will be doing more posts per week, I’ve decided that it might be cool if I let someone else stand on my soapbox every once in a while.

So for the first time ever, Video Contest News will be accepting submissions for “Guest Blog Posts.”  If you care about video contests enough to read this blog, you probably have some strong thoughts and opinions about this growing micro-genre of filmmaking.  I’ll consider all types of articles as long as what you write is true and won’t get me sued.  So if you want to brag about your latest big win or if you want to share your secret strategies or if you just want to bitch about some crappy contest where you got screwed over somehow, let me know.  Hell…I might even let you plug your contest-related website or post a vote requests if those plugs and requests are part of an article that someone would actually want to read.

I’m kind of psyched about this idea and I’m looking forward to hearing what you folks have to say.  I think adding other voices to this site will give it a little more depth and variety, if you know what I mean.  For now, my plan is to ease into this and run just 2 guest posts a month.  But if things work out, I might start running a guest blog every wednesday.  So if you have an idea for a guest post, e-mail me your suggestion:  VideoContestNews@gmail.com.  Thanks!

The Best Video Contest entries of 2010

Though January is already 19 days old it still feels like we’re in that gray area between the old year and the new. So before we get too deep into 2011 I thought we could take a look back at the top video contest entries of 2010.

Now I could ramble on for a paragraph or two about how much video contests changed in 2010, the record-breaking amounts of money that were won and the ways technology has enabled freelance filmmakers to create more professional looking videos.  And then I could top it off by explaining why it’s a safe bet to say that User-generated content is going to be an important part of the future of advertising and blah, blah, blah. But anyone reading this probably already knows all that stuff! The factors I just listed are the reasons we all keep making video contest entries; the money and exposure are awesome and the rewards just keep keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

So let’s skip the exposition and get right to the good stuff; VCN’s VIDEO CONTEST ENTRY OF THE YEAR! Now I know what you’re thinking…it’s got to be “Underdog,” the Crash the Super Bowl entry that aired during the Super Bowl, scored #2 on the USA Today Ad Meter and won its creators a $600,000 bonus, right? Wrong! That choice would be to easy. Instead I’ve decided to recognize a different 2010 Crash the Super Bowl winner; SNACK ATTACK SAMURAI by Ben Krueger and Cole Koehler!

2010 Crash the Super Bowl finalist. Prize: $25,000 and aired during the Super Bowl:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bRSM4EbLFw

So why Snack Attack Samurai? Well to start, it’s a great ad, it made it to the Crash the Super Bowl finals and it scored enough votes to air during the 2010 Super Bowl. But this humble, little video earns top honors this year not because of how much money it won (just $25,000!) but because of what it accomplished. By a fluke of timing, Snack Attack Samurai wound up playing near the end of last year’s Super Bowl right during a particularly exciting moment in the game. The next day, Nielson announced that the ad wound up being the MOST WATCHED COMMERCIAL IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION.

Like I said, this sort of happened by chance but it is still an incredible accomplishment. 100 Million people in the United States saw this ad on Super Sunday. That’s 1 out of 3 Americans. More people saw that first airing of Snack Attack Samurai than saw Avatar during its entire theatrical run. So why is this a big deal? It’s a big deal because in the roughly 80 year history of television, the commercial that wound up with the biggest audience ever wasn’t made by a team of marketing geniuses from Madison Avenue and it wasn’t produced by a humongous production company and it didn’t feature any big name stars. It was made by two dudes in Minnesota and it cost a tiny fraction of what most regular TV commercials cost. And here’s the craziest part of all…..those 100 million viewers? THEY DIDN’T CARE WHO MADE THE AD OR WHERE IT CAME FROM. Though a lot of them probably knew Snack Attack Samurai was part of the Crash the Super Bowl contest, to most viewers it was just another Super Bowl commercial. And to me folks, that means we’re entering an age when there aren’t any more “big guys” and “little guys;” there will only be the “talented” and the “untalented.”  The playing field is getting very even, very quickly.

So that’s why Snack Attack Samurai gets our “entry of the year award.” But what was the BEST contest entry of the year? Well, chances are you’ve probably never seen this one.  Our pick for the Best entry of 2010 was a short film called NUIT BLANCHE. It won first place and 100 grand in LG’s “Life’s Good” oneline film fest. The goal of the contest was to create an HD video based on the theme, “Life’s Good.” Though I suspect that Nuit Blanche wasn’t specifically shot for the contest it’s undeniably awesome and was THE BEST VIDEO CONTEST ENTRY OF THE YEAR:

Grand Prize Winner, LG’s Life’s Good HD Film Fest. Prize: $100,000:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tifuN6P7go

Crazy right??  If you wanna have your mind blow, check out this “making of Nuit Blanche” video. Pretty much every effect was done digitally which means in 5 years, high school kids will probably be making videos with equally sophisticated effects.

Next up, here’s THE BIGGEST WINNER OF 2010. Yep, it’s UNDERDOG from the Crash the Super Bowl contest.

Crash the Super Bowl winner. Prizes: Won $625,000 and aired during the Super Bowl:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8Jli-2pcgM

I think this video might also deserve the unofficial title of “Beardy’s Favorite Winner of the year.” The $600,000 that Underdog won was technically a bonus for scoring well on the USA Today Ad meter. Those bonuses were not guaranteed so you could also consider our next ad to be the “Biggest Winner of the year.” But let’s call this one THE WINNER OF THE BIGGEST GUARANTEED CONTEST PRIZE. It’s entitled “Russell’s Notebook and it won first place and $250,000 in the big Godaddy summer video contest.

Grand Prize Winner, Godaddy Summer contest. Prize: $250,000:

Can't embed this one so click to view

$250,000 by the way happens to the be largest guaranteed video contest prize EVER. The ad has also supposedly played on TV but I haven’t seen it air myself.

Next up, here’s THE MOST VIRAL VIDEO CONTEST ENTRY OF 2010:

Crash the Super Bowl Finalist. Prize: Won $25,000 and aired during the Super Bowl:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0EVSP_6XZA

EVERYBODY (and their Momma) has watched and re-watched this ad. I didn’t like it when I first saw it but it really grew on me. Doritos really knew what they were during when they picked House Rules as a finalist last year. The ad became a viral hit even before the Super Bowl and to date it’s been viewed almost 10 Million times on the Crash the Super Bowl youtube channel alone.

So those were the big winners of 2010. But here’s a quick list of some of the other video contest entries that scored big last year.

These two commercials were made for a Poptent Assignment for Quiznos. The ads wound up airing on TV for months and they are so well made that I’m guessing few viewers would ever guess they weren’t produced by Quizno’s regular ad firm:

VALUE MENU!  Purchased by Quiznos.  Price: $7,500.

U-543.  Purchased by Quiznos.  Price: $7,500.

Godaddy actually ran two big video contests in 2010; a “Spring” contest and a “Summer” contest.  The winner of the “Spring” contest and $100,000 was entitled “Go Momma” and the ad aired on TV a bit.  But I think the big winner of that contest was actually the SECOND Place ad; FingerFighting.com:

Second Place Winner, Godaddy Spring Contest. Prize: $50,000:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUx5pg2B5go

Though Fingerfighting.com won less money, Godaddy aired it on TV like crazy.  I still see it run every once in a while!  And the Phoenix-based filmmakers who made it actually won another $25,000 runner-up prize in Godaddy’s Summer Contest with an ad called Isawbigfoot.co.  I talked to the director of the ad a few weeks back and he said Godaddy is actually airing the ad in India.

Here’s another video contest entry that made it to TV.  This promo was shot for a Zooppa-run contest for TMZ and won first place.

First Place Winner, TMZ promo contest.  Prize: $10,000:

TMZ has been airing this promo during their show along with the 2nd and 3rd place winning videos too. You can see them all here: http://zooppa.com/contests/tmz-on-tv#/winners.

Finally, here are a couple ads that won smaller prizes but that I really liked:

DON’T FORGET.  Winner, Louisiana Hot Sauce Video Contest.  Prize: $5,000.

RONNIE’S SKIN SHACK.  Runner up, Skinit.com commercial contest.  Prize: $5,000.

First Place Winner, Are You Debit Smart Contest. Prize: $5,000:

HUMAN HEAD. Purchased by Fed-ex via Poptent’s Fed-Ex assignment. Price: $5,000.



1/20 UPDATE:
A reader sent me a link to this video that won the Mofilm American Idol Walmart competition. Apparently this ad even aired during the American Idol Finale. It’s pretty good. Prizes won include a trip to LA, tickets to the American Idol finale and thousands of dollars in cash and Walmart Gift cards.

http://www.mofilm.com/std/0ae308

So what do you think? Did I miss any big entries from 2010?

Next Week on VCN….

Merry Beard-mas!

Well tomorrow is Christmas Eve so ole’ Beardy is going to be taking a break from blogging for the next few days. But we’ll be back next week with some extra special posts.

First, I’ll be naming our “Video Contest Entry” of the year. And nope, it’s not “Underdog,” the commercial that won $600,000 in the 2010 Crash the Super Bowl contest. That choice would be too easy. Instead the title of “Video Contest Entry” of the year will be going to the consumer-generated video that pulled off a very special, record-breaking accomplishment. Plus I may even throw in a few honorable mentions.  UPDATE:  There’s so much contest news to report next week that I won’t have time to post our best of 2010 list.  So look for that post during the first week of the new year!

And then on January 1st I’ll being doing what everyone has been asking me to do for weeks. I’ll post my Top 5 Pepsi Max predictions for the Crash the Super Bowl contest. I assume I’ll be hung over from the night before so I’m working on the list now and will set it to “auto-post” that morning. I want to wait until the very last minute to post the list because I don’t want Pepsi or Doritos to see it and wonder if maybe some of the finalists had let me know they made it.

Speaking of the Crash the Super Bowl contest, readers keep asking if I think that the finalists have been notified yet. According to Doritos/Pepsi, the finalists had not been notified as of December 21st. So I don’t think the finalists have been contacted yet but I’d bet that TODAY is the day that the congratulatory phone calls will go out. (yes, they call you if you make it.) And if word happens to leak between now and January 3rd about any of the videos that made the Top 10, we’ll let you know.

In the last few weeks we’ve had a humongous spike in traffic and I’ve heard from tons and tons of new readers who are excited to have discovered the site.  I just want to say thanks for checking us out and I hope you stick with us in the new year.  It sounds like a lot of you are really, REALLY hoping to make the Crash the Super Bowl finals but I recommend you try and forget about the contest for a while and enjoy the holidays.  It’s out of your hands at this point and the odds of making it are incredibly long.  If you don’t make it, you haven’t lost.  You just didn’t win.  If the Crash was your first video contest experience you shouldn’t give up just because you didn’t win a contest that 6,000 other people entered.  There are hundreds of other video contests running at any given time.  So I recommend you take what you learned while making your Doritos or Pepsi Max ads and go after a contest with more reasonable odds.

Good luck and Merry Christmas everybody!

Sprint “Epic Contest” winner

Well, Michael Bay has spoken.  The epic director of Transformers and Armageddon was the sole judge in Sprint’s “Epic Contest” in which filmmakers were asked to submit their most epic short, short films.  The contest got some really entertaining entries but in the end, here’s the video that Mr. Bay deemed to be the most Epic of all:

Grand Prize Winner.  Prize: $25,000.

You know what, I liked it.  I watched the other finalists and that’s probably the one I would have picked too.

AND SPEAKING OF THINGS THAT ARE EPIC, I just wanted to make a quick mention of the fact that November turned out to be Videocontestnews.com’s biggest month ever!  Just before midnight on the 30th we got our 10,000th unique visitor of the month.  That’s crazy!  Obviously the huge spike in traffic came from people interested in the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  We got a simmilar (though not as epic) spike thanks to our Crash coverage last year and I’m happy to report that a lot readers stuck with us even during the CTSB off-season.  So I’m hoping 2011 turns out to be a big year for us. If you’re new to the site, thanks for checking us out.  We’ve been getting record numbers of comments lately and I think it really makes the site more entertaining and more informative so keep ’em coming. And If you ever have some contest news you’d like to share or if you need help with a contest that’s being run un-fairly, please let us know at videocontestnews@gmail.com.