I didn’t realize that Godaddy was going to let the public know who made the finals of their ginormous commercial contest but I checked the website today and they had 10 “Finalists” listed. They also announced that the winner and a few of the runners-up will make their debut during the Indy 500 on May 30th. Man, godaddy is smart. That seems like the perfect event for this kind of unveiling. Plus that’s a long friggin’ race so they’ll probably air a lot of the finalists.
Every one of the videos that made the top 10 are pretty solid. And there’s a nice variety to the finalists. Some are “sexy” and some are goofy but they’re all funny. There’s only one kind of amateurish video ( about the super powers godaddy can give you and it made me chuckle) but there rest of the videos are 100% pro all the way. They are as slick as can be. Hey, $175,000 is at stake so it’s only fitting that the commercials look professional. But all the folks who shot entries in their basements with their flip cameras will probably be mad that they only picked slick productions.
Like I said, I enjoyed all the finalists videos. They’re all funny but none of them really hit it out of the park. So I was impressed but not blown away. But people really outdid themselves and it looks like some people spent a lot of cash on their productions. You can see all 10 finalists at http://videos.godaddy.com/super-bowl-video-contest but here are my 2 favorites:
The “Get online rap” is pretty good too but I can’t find it on youtube. The public voting period is also over now and you can see which videos won the “community” prizes for having the highest scores. Remember, those prizes are stuff like laptops and cameras. Here’s the video that wound up being the hightest rated:
Christ, what an asshole. As you can guess, the annoying jerk in that video is a youtube celebrity who got his legion of tween followers to vote for him. I’m sure the folks at Godaddy are quite relived that they didn’t let “the public” pick their $100,000 winner.
5/9/2010 UPDATE: An astute commenter pointed out that the only non-slick finalist I mentioned has already been named the winner of the OTHER godaddy commercial contest. If you like contests enough to actually read this website, you probably already know that Godaddy ran two video contests concurrently. There was the big $175,000 contest and then there was an alternative contest run on the contest site zooppa. The prize in that one was only $3,000. For some reason, people in other countries and certain states (NY and FL I think) weren’t legally eligible to enter the big contest. So that everyone could have a chance to enter, the second contest was created. Some sneaky filmmakers submitted their commercials to both. That seems like bad form to me but I guess it worked for the guy who made the “superpowers” ad. It’s as simple as can be but it’s well written and well perfromed. Check it out:
Winner, Godaddy’s ZOOPPA contest. Prize: $3,000
1) The “get online rap” is by far my favorite of the finalists. I saw it during the contest entry period and thought it was the best one then, too. I wasn’t so impressed by any of the other ones. I hope that one wins and think a little effort and simple production produced a hilarious and quality entry.
2) I hate the production value of the others. I dislike/fear that the video contest world now seems to be dominated by these massive budget productions. I can’t even imagine how much they put into that “how do websites work,” even just to get that set up and running, and maybe I’m a classicist, but I think the low-budget reality of the web is what makes it charming. It’s why people prefer amateur porn to fancy porn stars. I just can’t get excited about any of the big budget stuff.
To continue the porn analogy – everyone knows that a porn star is going to have wild sex on camera, just like everyone knows that a lot of money and fancy equipment can make a good commercial. But when an amateur has wild sex on camera, that’s just a billion times sexier, more fun, more charming, more exciting to watch and more worth any word of mouth.
I think “Go Mama” is the best one of the finalists. I am still amazed that the “superpowers” one not only is a finalist but also already won 3K in the Zooppa Godaddy contest. I don’t see how you can hold good “production values” against a video, its simply solid fundamental filmmaking, get used to it… if I was a contest, I would never pick any amateur vids when I can get a TV ready one. I agree with you Joel, the online rap was very good.
I hold super-fancy production value” against stuff for the same reasons I think the first three seasons of “The Real World” were great, and I can’t watch any of the recent ones. Because some stuff feels real, and some feels too polished.
I understand the difference in opinion, but I think you’ll agree – there is a long history and big percentage of folks who prefer realer, less polished things. I’m not saying everyone agrees, but it’s a reasonable stance. Here’s a list of examples:
a) The 70′s & 80′s Star Wars Movies vs. The Prequel episodes.
b) Heidi Montag pre-surgery vs. Heidi Montag post plastic surgery
c) Paper Books vs. Kindles
d) A Homemade Scarf from an aunt with a mistake or two vs. one bought from the Gap
e) Vinyl vs. CD’s
f) Live music vs. Recorded music.
See what I mean?
[...] towards higher and higher production values in the contest world. I got into a discussion over on videocontestnews.com where I was challenged on the point, “how can you hold good production values against an [...]
Okay, my last post on this – I got all motivated after this discussion/argument and wrote a blog post about it.
With the exception of the rap video and the Superpowers ad, none of the finalists feel like video contest entries. If I didn’t know where they came from and saw them on tv, I’d just assume they were made by godaddy.
So, I think this does kind of defeat the purpose of holding a video contest. All of the finalists are good but none are awesome or memorable. None of them have much heart or feature ingenious, out of left field concepts. But 9 of 10 of them are TV quality. So godaddy went with safe choices which is kind of disappointing.
I like my video contest entries to look like video contest entries. But I think now and forever, if the plan is to show the winning video on tv, sponsors will always pick very slick stuff even if there is funnier, better not so slick stuff. Right now, Butterfinger is running the winner of their 2009 video contest on TV and the video looks like shit. It looked great online but it shouldn’t be on tv. I was with a friend once when that video started playing on tv and I said “hey, did you know that’s a video contest entry?” He had no idea. 99.99% of people who see that ad won’t know where it came from. They’ll just know it’s badly framed and has weird color. They’ll wonder why such a famous brand would make such a amateur commercial.
So that’s a big problem. Brands have images to protect and unless they somehow mention that the commercial you are watching on tv came from a video contest, viewers will subconsciously think that the sponsor cheaped out when it came time to make their new commercial.
A good example is my problem with doritos. I think that my “guy fakes his death to be buried in a casket full of doritos” script was much better than the script of the “guy fakes his death to be buried in a casket full of doritos” entry that wound up airing during the superbowl. I had read an article about the other casket entry and it said that they had 50 PEOPLE on set when they shot it. It looked like a million dollar production but the script was bad and the story didn’t even make sense. But it looked like a “real commercial” and that was good enough.
I think that in like a year, this problem will have resolved itself. A year from now, the playing field will be totally level and most video contest entries will be shot in HD and look pretty slick. So content will eventually be king again.
Great article. Couldn’t resist posting.
It amazes me how shallow and inconsiderate some creatives can be regarding their peers in the freelance community. Happy Joel begrudges guys/girls who put their skills and networking to good use, when marginalize them as being ‘slick’ big dollar agency spots. I liked your one article titled ‘No Fair! You Used Your Skills!, Beardy. I was frankly hoping you took Joel to task a bit more for his misguided stand.
I have been accused of being ‘slick’ and ‘big studio’ and having ‘massive production budgets’ before when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Much of the time in my projects I cast actors who work for free (on spec.), family, friends, and/or myself and shoot the projects in my house or in my driveway, at a park etc. etc.. Yet, my content may look very polished and professional, but I assure you, I shoot on a $1,900.00 Sony minidv tape camera, and only recently upgraded to FCP 6.0.6. Wish I could afford 7.0. Maybe next year. Bottom line, the reason my content looks good is the hours and HOURS of time I spend trying to become a better film-maker, writer AND EDITOR through the education process.
Happy Joel won $100,000.00 not too long ago with Klondike for his very YouTube-ish submission ‘Polar Bear’. I liked it. It incorporated a very catchy tune with multiple location changes that amazed the viewer for what seemed to be a low budget project. I thought it was very engaging. I thought it had potential as a national but would definitely have a limited shelf life because of poor P.V.s.
The average visitor to YouTube expects this sort of content on YT., but not on National Television. Television viewers have been conditioned to expect the sort of eye candy PV that is par for the course. A brief deviation of that may work for a while for any given network channel but over time, the content that is more pleasing and easier on the eyes, lit well, edited smoothly, acted convincingly etc. etc. etc. will always win out…sorry.
Had I been advising Joel at the time, I certainly would have encouraged him to spend $7,000.00 or so and get the gear he needs to improve his production values. Additionally I am convinced that if Joel can marry P.V.’s with his brand of comedy he would be a huge success. But he, and/or other people vested in him, must put the time into learning more about the craft of film making. These days there are far too many talented people whipping out cameras and posting vids on YouTube. Without signature production values, there is very little to stratify this sea of talent.
I don’t understand Happy Joel not appreciating why the brands frequently want things, TV Ready. Of all people he should know why brands who are serious about content regularly go for higher production values. EG: The year after I won the TaxSlayer contest, he won it. When I scored with my spot, TaxSlayer was able to run with the content as is on television. When Joel won however, the TaxSlayer brand needed to re-shoot his spot so it could air nationally. The problem was simple,…a Production Values deficit. It wasn’t his acting. He’s a funny actor. In fact they still cast him as the TaxSlayer for the re-production. Does Joel honestly think TaxSlayer relished having to shoot all over again from square one and pay the thousands of dollars necessary to re-shape the content? Come on Joel!!! Yes, there will always be tons of contests where the brand doesn’t give a crap about the content…where they only want to get the word out about the brand and forced internet virality through YT subscribership works great for them…online voting, yay!!
But Joel, please don’t marginalize or denigrate your peers who spend 10 hours per editing second on content just because the end result looks like it was the result of a MEGA BUDGET. I think you and others like you would be surprised just how slick and polished you can make your stuff look with a little practice and education. Again, SLICK + Polish + A-1 Content, is always better than A-1 Content alone.
The Video Contest King
I agree with Jared, you should always try and make your stuff look AND sound as good as possible, hell, I think sound design is almost more important than picture, because bad sound tends to distract a viewer more. If you aren’t trying to improve your skill set each time u enter a contest, i don’t really see the point, and your peers will quickly pass you because there is always someone who wants it more.
Jared, you’re way off base. Joel has made a great point about the winners and you…well, I find it hilariously ironic that you constantly begrudge the ad system on madison avenue, the empowering of the creative, and all that other flowery mumbo jumbo. Fact it, Joel is arguing for the proletariat video maker, the guy who puts funny ahead of colorization, he’s a viral dude and he has done very well for himself.
You, on the other hand, proffer a “rebel creative” attitude one minute and then try and denigrate most rebellious of them all—Happy Joel—the next minute. Fact is, Joel should stick with what he does best—making songs, being funny. And you, my friend, should figure out which side you are on. With your modest HD gear and wanna-be pro attitude, your reaching. Joel, he knows who he is and he represents. And, a little side note here, I have never met Joel, I have never met you, and I did not enter the godaddy contest.
If you know me at all, than you know my motto is, ‘Content is King’. Superior content when married with great production values is unbeatable. I doubt we disagree on this. I never, ever advocate a proletariate of mediocrity. That would be Mr. Levinson’s battle cry. Joel is under the impression that low P.V.s should somehow be the order of the day where serious branding is concerned. I can not disagree more.
Yes, I advocate for the rebel creative….the rebel who can compete with the quality necessitated by the marketplace. Joel either can’t or won’t evolve. I definitely don’t endorse that sort of dissonant freelance mindset. If Joel does not evolve he will experience increasingly diminished success with his comedic schtick. Any afternoon spent surfing YouTube will manifest his growing competition.
Here is an example of the cognitive dissonance I speak of. TaxSlayer.com recently cancelled it’s commercial competition for lack of entries. They only had 18 or so. Joel’s was one of them. If you have seen his submission, you would have to admit it was hardly national in P.V. quality. Even if TaxSlayer liked the storyline, they once again would have to pay to re-produce his spot. Did Joel not learn his lesson the first time around? Hey, I get the whole rebel thing, but I think it’s also important to have a legit cause.
It’s not a “proletariat of mediocrity.” It’s spending time on content and recognizing that, in the realm of commercial contest entries, ideas reign. Production values mean nil. Case and point: that doritos commercial with the black kid. Some 4 million + views or something on youtube, not to mention all kinds of tweeting and obsession by the american public after the superbowl. Case and point: the herbert brothers with their million dollar winner. Production value in that was very, very small…and all will agree that they won for their idea.
And I think it quite presumptuous of you to label Happy Joel as the proletariat of mediocrity. He’s won more money than you, he makes better, more funny, content than you. But, he’s not evolving right? He should be making shark commercials like you.
I just checked out your blog and the wonderful reaming you got by that guy No Thanks. Your changing the freelance community with your fast, good, and cheap, huh? Come on, dude. There is no “quality necessitated by the marketplace.” These contests are long shots, regardless of production value. Again, case and point, the Godaddy High Commercial which looked like a million bucks. Hmmm, did that make it? No, it didn’t.
RE: “Proletariate of mediocrity”
It is Joel who disdains polish and high production values. He himself advocates for ‘amateur’. If he is endorsing the ‘amateur’ style than by definition he is promoting average mediocre production values, and I am countering by saying I haven’t yet seen an outrageously funny, horribly produced video on YouTube that couldn’t be helped with a vaccination of P.V.s.
I have a sense you are in total agreement with me, but are either arguing for arguments sake or just a Happy J fan who is getting in his 3 cents. I am pretty much done here arguing that increased production values can help an already strong script/concept. Seems pointless to debate it further. If you want to open a new line of discussion, great.
I’m sorry but you have got to have some kind of mental disorder. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you man? I told you that I don’t want to hear from you at all, any more. You told me you would not post on this blog again. And yet here you, trying to pick more fights. Are you so desperate for attention that you couldn’t even keep your word for two weeks?
Jared, out of the blue last month you started littering the comment sections of my posts with angry, hateful comments that had nothing to do with video contests. You just wanted to call people names and let the world know that you are always right and everyone else is always stupid and wrong. I’m all for a lively debate but you crossed the line. You can’t call the guy who runs the website and his readers a bunch of seriously offensive and ignorant names and expect to come back 2 weeks later and find your soapbaox still here waiting for you. For God’s sake Jared, this is a website about online video contests and you came on here and implied that you were going to shoot anyone who disagreed with you!! That is not acceptable behavior, even on the internet!
I don’t know why you’ve got such a boner for happyjoel but if you want to pick a fight with him, go do it on your own website. Joel told you in the comment section of the Drudge post that he didn’t want to talk you or get another e-mail from you again. So I’m sure you think you’re really smart getting your shots in by responding to his comments here. You know he’ll see what you said but if he responds he breaks his vow not to talk to you again. That’s high school stuff right there man. Get a damn life. This website is not going to become your personal platform for insulting filmmakers you don’t like. If you want to talk shit about someone, at least have the nerve to do it on your own website.
In case you didn’t pick up on this in my responses to the e-mails you kept sending me, life is too short for me to deal with haters like you. You have your own blog where you can call joel a hack and me a liberty-hating lemming and threaten to blow people’s heads off because they think federal regulations that mandate clean drinking water are a good idea. If you want to bloviate and stroke your own ego, DO IT ON YOUR OWN BLOG AND STAY OFF OF MINE. Video Contest News is now officially a hater-free zone.
In my last e-mail response to your rantings I told you two things. One is that we should never talk again. The other is that you have serious anger issues and should get some counseling. It’s not healthy for a 50-something year old man to be playing internet troll. If you’re feeling bad you shouldn’t vent your frustrations and anger in the comment sections of wordpress blogs. What you should do is talk to a therapist and maybe get some help.
I never in a million years thought I’d wind up banning someone from posting on this website. Even the guy who called me a fat, bearded douche-pumper with a “tiny ding-dong” (he thought the drawing of beardy was really what I looked liked) didn’t get banned. But jared, your superiority complex, hostility and insults have become a nuisance and are turning of readers. So please, do not post comments on VCN any more.
Glad we didn’t enter a video this time, I have a feeling we would have been ripped apart. A lot of them are very good.
Keep up the good work, Beardy! Still loving the site.
My favorite was fingerfighting.com, completely different and great use of Go Daddy.