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:

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:

Crazy right??  If you wanna have your mind blow, check out this “” 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:

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.


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

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 “” and the ad aired on TV a bit.  But I think the big winner of that contest was actually the SECOND Place ad;

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

Though 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  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:

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, 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.

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

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12 Responses to “The Best Video Contest entries of 2010”

  1. Mark says:

    Wow, kind of seems like there weren’t that many big video contests last year. Besides godaddy and doritos, what was there?

  2. Beardy says:


    You’re right. There weren’t that many chances for filmmakers to win one, huge contest prize last year. There were also very few independent video contests that were run by companies themselves. So instead of company X holding a $25,000 contest on their website, they went to companies like poptent or mofilm or tongal or zooppa and had them run contests that had a bunch of prizes that equaled 25,000.

    So it looks like the new trend will be smaller contests but more opportunities for people to win.

  3. SisterCoen says:

    NUIT BLANCHE was, indeed, beautiful to watch. But being all technique, not a whole lotta (narrative) content and certainly no branding, I’m afraid this will read as simple novelty in a few years, when, as you’ve said, Beardy….’high school kids will probably be making videos with equally sophisticated effects’.

  4. Joey says:


    I thought underdog & samurai was shot very well, but for some reason I didn’t think either of them were funny?

    I’m letting Nuit Blanche load now.

    Anyhow get a load of this they’re back.

    What do you think about TaxSlayer coming back with another contest?

  5. Joey says:

    Already seen Nuit Blance wasn’t made for that contest seen it a couple of years ago.

  6. Beardy says:

    Ahhh! Taxslayer is having a contest again this year?!? Joey…you just blew my mind. Man, I did not see that one coming. Not sure how to feel about it. Guess I shouldn’t bother to enter since I probably pissed off the judges last year. But I probably wouldn’t enter for fear of the contest being canceled again. If they were smart they would contact everyone who entered last year, apologize and encourage them to enter this year. That probably ain’t gonna happen though.

  7. Joey says:

    Who said you have to submit under your name? :P

  8. Michael says:

    Fairly certain Nuit Blanche was not made for a contest, despite having won one — not even sure it was made this year.

    Had you seen:

    It won the Mofilm American Idol Walmart competition where the winner was supposed to air during an episode (the finale?) of American Idol. The runner up was pretty good too.

    A couple of the Mofilm Cannes winners were good too. Coke Zero and Bud Light, and I liked the Snuggles winners from one of their contests in the fall.

  9. Michael says:

    And full disclosure, yes, it was my submission.

  10. shaun says:

    Hi Beardy. Shaun here. I was the actor in the doritos canon commercial entry that has my head getting blown backwards. That one didn’t make it, but Brendan’s Pepsi Maxx commercial DID make it, so that’s cool. I just wanted to say that I won a little vid contest myself. It was “Edge Gel’s Funny Or Die, irritation video contest”. They didn’t leave it up on the site for more than two weeks, but here’s a link to my youtube page with it.

    Now it’s completely low tech, but the contest had a lot of rules, like no troupes and no more than yourself on camera. Anyway, I’m taking my trip to Vegas that I won this weekend to see my Packers win the superbowl(plus 5K)! Not quite as good as being IN a superbowl ad, but I’ll take it!

    Thanks for the site Beardy!

  11. Beardy says:


    Hey thanks for the update and congrats on the Edge Gel win! Sounds like a weird contest. Keep an eye on the blog, I’ll probably post your win after the crash the super bowl stuff is all done.

  12. shaun says:

    thanks Beardy!

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