Posts Tagged ‘vote’

Wingstop’s “No Bones About it” winner

When it comes to chicken wings, I’m a bit of a connoisseur.  For bone-in wings I’ll go to Hooters and for boneless wings I’ll go to Buffalo Wild Wings.  But if I’m in a hurry, the boneless wings at Wingstop aren’t too bad either.  (I’ve found it’s a great place to grab a quick lunch with my dad.)  If you ever find yourself in a wingstop, be sure to order some fries and dip them in the blue cheese dressing.  That’s good eatin’ right there, pal!  Oh but you know what’s even better?  Have you ever had the buffalo shrimp at Hooters??  Those actually blow all chicken wings everywhere out of the water.  Hey you know what’s funny?  Me and my friends love Hooters’ food but now that we’re not immature 22 year olds any more we find the girls in their booty shorts to be kind of annoying.  Sometimes you just want to have some beers and some wings and you don’t feel like enduring the waitresses’ bad fake flirting.  We’d probably go to Hooters more if the girls were allowed to dress and act like normal humans.

Wait a second…why did I start writing this post?  Oh yeah, Wingstop had a commercial contest.  They picked 5 finalists and then people voted on facebook.  Here’s the winner:

Wingstop’s First Place Winner.  Prize:  $10,000:

Seriously, Hooters Buffalo shrimp; try them and thank me later Also, take your dad to Wingstop. He’ll love it and you’ll be in and out in like 45 minutes.

Quick! Vote for my entry in Tootsie Pop’s video contest!

When I was a kid I thought that owl was awesome.  Still do.

I took a little vacation this weekend and while I was sitting in the airport, enjoying the free wifi I came across a great video contest for Tootsie Pops.  The premise was simple; contestants had to explain how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.  I knew right away that I had to enter but it was monday night and I was in Boston and the deadline was today.  So on tuesday I wrote my idea and did some planning and yesterday I shot, edited and submitted my masterpiece.  I think my entry turned out pretty good but in order to have a shot at winning a prize, I have to get enough votes to land in the top 25.  And the deadline for votes is tonight!  So I need to get like 40 votes by midnight.  I know I can do it but I’m going to have to bug a lot of people today….and I’m starting with you!

Voting in this contest is super, super simple.  All you have to do is click this link and then click the vote button:

Shares and views help too but even just a vote would be much appreciated.  Thanks everybody!

UPDATE: Voting is now over and I made the top 25 by the skin of my teeth. Thanks for the votes everybody!

Vote for my pal ANNA H. in Butterfinger’s Last Spokesperson on Earth contest!

Butterfinger, she’s your girl!

A few weeks back I shot an entry for Butterfinger’s last spokesperson on Earth video contest but I didn’t make the finals. But it turns out that my friend Anna DID manage to make the top 5. Anna’s a very talented musician from Chicago and I’m happy to say that I introduced her to the world of video contests. She writes and performs amazing and catchy little songs and I think if she gets hooked she’s going to wind up winning a lot of contests. The Butterfinger contest had a really weird theme; contestants were supposed to demonstrate a talent and show what an effective spokesperson they would be after aliens invade during the Mayan Apocalypse in December 2012. The concept is totally insane but Anna managed to write an absolutely beautiful song about Butterfingers and the end of the world.

The winner of the Butterfinger competition is determined by facebook votes so Anna could use your support.  To vote for her, just follow this link and scroll down past the promo video.  You’ll see 5 thumbnails.  Click on the one that says Anna H. and vote.  I totally slacked off on this request and midnight on Monday the 27th is the voting deadline so cast a vote while you still can. Thanks!


Sling Baby “Wins” Facebook ad meter poll and a million bucks thanks to unsportsmanlike conduct

I call Shenanigans! Sling Baby's "head of social media" calls on fans to attack their competition.

On Tuesday night, filmmaker and three-time Crash the Super Bowl finalist Kevin T. Willson became the fourth person ever to win the million dollar ad meter bonus in Doritos’ annual commercial contest.  But unlike the other three times directors have won that honor, Willson’s victory isn’t anything worth celebrating.  In fact, the way he “won” his bonus money is so shameful I think his win might wind up being a black mark on the reputation of the entire field of “crowdsourced” advertising.

As I explained in my last post, this year USA Today ran TWO versions of their annual Super Bowl ad meter poll.  The traditional poll got its scores from viewers in private focus groups and the results were released on Sunday night.  This year, USA Today’s focus groups declared the Crash the Super Bowl entry “” to be the best commercial of the game.  (A great call, BTW)  As is tradition, Doritos will award a bonus of one million dollars to the creator of Man’s Best Friend for pulling off such an amazing feat.

But USA Today’s second ad meter poll was touted as a chance for “the public” to rank the commercials of Super Bowl 46.  The poll was run online and voting was open to anyone with a facebook page.  Voters were able to score a video on a scale of one to five stars.  Way back when the 2011/2012 installment of the CTSB contest was launched, Doritos said that they would be giving out bonus prizes to any CTSB ad that landed in the top three of either USA Today ad meter poll.  (one million dollars for first, $600K for second, $400K for third)  Voting in the online ad meter ended last night and when all was said and done, Kevin Willson’s Crash the Super Bowl ad, “Sling Baby,” managed to come out on top.

So this year, Fritolay gets to boast that Doritos commercials took the #1 spot in both of USA Today’s ad meter polls.  But the new facebook ad meter poll is set up and run in such a way that virtually guarantees that a Crash the Super Bowl ad will land “in the money.”  The other 55 ads in the poll have nothing to gain financially by doing well so only the Sling Baby team seriously FOUGHT for first place.  So I think fritolay knew a Doritos ad would probably win the facebook poll all along.  However, I don’t think they ever could have guessed that the final score would be so lopsided that the results would make the entire facebook ad meter look like an unfair, illegitimate joke.  Check this out; here’s a shot of the Facebook ad meter scores as they were just a few hours after the Super Bowl ended:

Online ad meter standings: Sunday Night

On Sunday night, the CTSB commercial that won the traditional ad meter was also winning the online poll.  Actually, the top 5 ads on this poll are just a jumbled version of the results of the traditional ad meter.  So before the Sling Baby crew started voting, the facebook poll was actually a pretty fair indicator of how “the public” felt about the ads that aired during the big game.  But here’s what the scores looked like by Monday afternoon.


Sing Baby had shot into first place but that was no surprise. However, the plummeting scores of the other videos in the top five were a little suspicious. As for the Kia commercial, it featured Motley Crue and it turns out the band kept and to vote for their ad. So that’s why that spot jumped into the Top 5. I guess the Sling Baby team didn’t appreciate that someone else was trying to win the ad meter poll. Here’s how the rankings looked at 1:15 on Tuesday afternoon:


The Kia ad had been slapped down hard. Just 20 minutes after I took that screen shot I checked the rankings again. The Kia ad’s score was down to 4.22 and it had fallen out of the top 5.  So the only commercial that seemed to actually be trying to beat Sling Baby was mysteriously crushed in the voting over night.

Here now are the final scores of USA Today’s Facebook Ad Meter Poll:


When voting started, Sling Baby was in a three way tie for first place with Man’s Best Friend and Bud Light’s Weego.  But after two days of voting, Sling Baby wound up absolutely slaughtering the competition.  Though I use the word “competition” lightly.  I did see a few casual requests for votes from some of the other competitors, but I think most companies realized that an online ad meter was sort of meaningless.  For the Sling Baby team, winning a 56-way contest that almost no one else was really trying to win should have been a piece of cake.  And Doritos even helped their cause.  After Man’s Best Friend won the big ad meter contest on sunday, Doritos started encouraging their fans to head to the online poll and vote for Kevin Willson’s Sling Baby.  I think it’s insanely, amazingly awesome that the folks at Fritolay want to give one of their CTSB winners a million dollars.  Sure, it’s good publicity for them but still, it was a really gracious move.  With Doritos’ support, Kevin Willson and his teammates could have scored a spot in the Top 3 without breaking a sweat.  But unfortunately, winning $600,000 or $400,000 fair and square apparently wasn’t good enough for these folks.  I kept track of the ad meter for the last three days and it seems that Sling Baby won because a small army of supporters sabotaged the scores of the other ads in the poll by maliciously rating them 1 star out of a possible 5.

If you look at Sling Baby’s official facebook page, you’ll only see a few subtle hints that the team wanted people to down-vote the other ads in the poll.  Here’s one example I saw:

Screenshot of the "Vote For Sling Baby" facebook page

Just for the record, Willson’s “User Generated ad” was created by a team of more than 40 pro and semi-pro filmmakers and cost almost $3,000 to produce. But anyway, as you can see, whoever was running that facebook page was really pushing the idea that their team had to beat Budweiser, M&Ms, Kia, etc.  And one fan even flat out said he was rating the other videos one-star.  And yet, no one spoke up and said “Hey man, we don’t want to win that way.  Please only give honest scores.

But that was how thing’s went down on Sling Baby’s official page.  Behind the scenes, the Sling Baby team felt free to get ruthless.  Based on what I have seen, it seems that some team members decided they could only win if they played dirty.  The creators of Sling Baby were incredibly organized and they even had someone managing their online campaigns.  That person’s name is Nate Daniels and the “About Us” section of lists him as being in charge of “Social Media.”  But apparently he also helped come up with the idea for the entry.  Daniels did an interview with something called the Lansing City Pulse in which he talked about his role on the team:

Daniels, who moved to Los Angeles, teamed up with the director of the ad, Kevin Wilson, to create the commercial. “I helped create the idea for ‘Sling Baby,’ and am in charge of the online campaign and the website,” Daniels said.

And here he is doing a TV interview with a Lansing, MI news station about Sling Baby’s quest to win the facebook ad meter.  So Daniels was a key member of the Sling Baby team.  He was literally the guy in charge of spreading the word about the ad and I assume that he was the head of the “online campaign” to get votes for the commercial.  At first Daniels simply asked people to vote for his team’s ad.  But as the Sling Baby slipped in the polls, he started to hint that people should give bad scores to the competition:


But soon enough, Daniels dropped the innuendo and just started instructing people to rate the competing ads “1 star.”  In an absolutely despicable move, he even told told people to give a bad score to the other Doritos commercial, Man’s Best Friend:


Daniels was by no means the only person using Facebook or Twitter to get Sling Baby fans to give bad scores to the other commercials in the ad meter. I found a bunch of other examples that I could post. But the people who made those requests weren’t in charge of Sling Baby’s social media campaigns so I’m not going to repost their comments.  I’m only sharing what Nate Daniels did because it was his job to promote Sling Baby online.

Now, if you’re thinking that perhaps this one team member went rogue and did all this without the OK of his teammates….well, take a look at this:


Jeff Edwards was the Executive Producer of Sling Baby.  Not only that, Edwards was Kevin Willson’s “plus one” for the trip to the Super Bowl.  So Edwards was practically a co-finalist.  He got a free trip to beautiful Indianapolis, he got to watch the Super Bowl from Fritolay’s private box and I’m going to guess that he stands to receive a huge slice of the million dollar ad meter prize.  So this guy should have known better than to publicly call on people to give bad scores to the Bud Light, Kia and Chrysler ads. As Captain Hook would say, that’s just bad form. Even Motley Crue didn’t tell people to down-vote the other videos and they are literally a motley crew!

Over the years I have been in a lot of video contests where votes determine the winners.  And I always make it a point to tell my family and friends NOT to down-vote the competition.  That just seems like a skeezy and unfair way to win a contest.  So it simply blows my mind that (as far as I saw) not one Sling Baby team member responded to Daniels or Edwards by saying, “Dude, chill out…we want to win fair and square.“  Though I didn’t see any evidence that Kevin Willson was asking people to sabotage the scores of the other videos in the contest, I think it’s incredibly unlikely that he didn’t know what his friends and teammates were up to.  And yet, it looks like he did nothing to stop these sad, unsportsmanlike tactics.

And that might be because he knew those tactics would work. Just look at how the scores for the other top videos tumbled during the voting.  Even Man’s Best Friend, the REAL best commercial of Super Bowl 46 went from first place to sixth place in just 48 hours.  That just shows you how effective “down-voting” can be.  Every high school graduate knows that you can get an A+ on every test but just one F per semester will wreck your final grade.  My point is that negative scores have a much bigger impact than positive scores do.  Let’s do some quick math:  Imagine a commercial on the ad meter had 10 votes of 4 stars each.  That would make their score 4.00.  If a person casts an 11th vote of 5 stars, the video’s score goes up to 4.09.  But if that person casts an 11th vote of 1 star, that video’s score plummets to 3.72.  Winning by down-voting the competition was probably easy but it was also certainly wrong.  But I guess the promise of a million god damn dollars can make people do some pretty crooked things.  To me it looks like some members of the Sling Baby team decided that it was their mission to make sure Willson’s commercial came in first by any means necessary.  And those folks straight up accomplished the hell out of that mission.

Right about now you might be wondering, “What’s the big deal?  So these guys did what it took to win a million bucks…what do you care?  It’s not your money.”  Well the reason this is a big deal because the Sling Baby crew completely violated the spirit of this competition.  I could win a hundred yard dash if my friends ran onto the track and tackled all the other runners, but that wouldn’t prove that I was the fastest guy in the race.  And I sure as hell wouldn’t be proud if someone gave me a gold medal for my phony baloney victory.  The point of the ad meter poll is to be ranked the best because your commercial IS the best….not because you got a whole bunch of people to give bad scores to the other ads.  Not only is that unsportsmanlike, I think it borders on fraud.  If the Sling Baby team launched a coordinated effort to get hundreds of people to LIE so that they could win this contest then they could be facing some serious legal repercussions.  And yes, when those voters gave bad scores to all the other videos in the contest they were LYING….they were not scoring the other commercials honestly.  I think this whole debacle could and should be investigated by the legal departments of Fritolay, USA Today, Kia, Budweiser, M&Ms, etc, etc, etc.  But at the very least, the down-voting could result in Sling Baby being completely disqualified from the Crash the Super Bowl contest.  Here’s what the official rules of the contest say about unsportsmanlike conduct:

Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual deemed to be (a) tampering or attempting to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or any Sponsor or Contest-related Web Site; (b) violating the Official Rules; (c) violating the Web Site terms of service, conditions of use and/or applicable general rules or guidelines; or (d) acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. This Contest is offered only in the United States and is governed by the laws of the state of Texas. All claims relating in any manner to this Contest or to any Submission must be resolved in the federal or state courts located in Collin County, Texas.

Now that I think about it, if key members of the Sling Baby team were willing to resort to such unscrupulous measures to win the million dollar ad meter prize, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suspect that maybe they did some unscrupulous things to get enough votes to ensure their ad would air during the Super Bowl.  Again, I think that’s something the big wigs at Fritolay can and should look into.

Finally, there is one more reason why all this matters:  Crowdsourcing, video contests and consumer generated ads already don’t get a lot of respect from the pros in the advertising world.  Every time a twenty dollar, homemade commercial like “Man’s Best Friend” beats Madison Avenue’s multi-million dollar commercials, the entire ad industry looks bad.  But Sling Baby’s “win” on the facebook ad meter gives the pros a reason to dismiss the accomplishments of crowdsourcers everywhere.  Sling Baby makes it look like we can only win when we’re playing with a stacked deck.  And even worse, the ridiculous results of the facebook ad meter make all of us look like greedy, vindictive cheaters.  Oh, but just for the record, down-voting the other ads technically wasn’t cheating since their were no rules and the ad meter wasn’t even an actual “contest.”  But if people were giving bad scores to the other commercials on the ad meter just to help Sling Baby win, that would be unethical.  And winning a million dollars unethically is nothing to be proud of.

Two final notes:  First, all the facebook screenshots that appear in this post come from public facebook pages that anyone can access. However, I didn’t think it would be necessary or appropriate to actually link to those pages. Second, the website also ran an online poll where the public could rate the commercials of Super Bowl 46.  There were no prizes or bragging rights at stake in that poll so no one tried to sway the outcome of that contest.  According to people of the Internet, the two best commercials of the game were Volkswagen’s Dog Strikes Back and Doritos’ Man’s Best Friend.  As for Sling Baby, it came in 6th.

Jolly Rancher launches a video contest with no rules

Yo, suck on these!

I try and follow what goes on over on pretty closely and over the last few months I’ve noticed an odd trend developing.  It seems like more and more companies are running video “assignments” on Poptent that are sort of like the first phase of a larger video contest.  The brand’s judges review all the Poptent submissions they receive and then they select several finalists.  These finalists each get paid a few thousand dollars so the brand can post their videos on their websites or facebook pages for a few weeks.  Once the finalist videos are posted, fans of the sponsor are invited to vote on their favorite “consumer made” ads and the video that gets the most votes wins a big, fat cash prize.  So basically, companies are using Poptent so they can have their cake and eat it too.  Since there is so much talent over on Poptent the brand is almost sure to get a ton of high-quality videos to choose from.  (Bonus: they also don’t need to worry about non-winners posting their embarrassing, low-quality or offensive videos elsewhere on the web.)  And then when they run the second phase of the contest they also get the social media exposure that comes with running an online vote.  When all is said and done, the brand gets high-quality content, the are technically no “losers” so the fans don’t feel like the sponsor wasted their time, the sponsor’s website or facebook page gets tons of traffic and the directors that made the finals get at least a little cash for their trouble.

So it’s an interesting contest model.  But it really only works if all phases of the contest are run well.  The people at poptent obviously know what they’re doing so Phase One is guaranteed to run pretty smoothly.  But these types of contest can easily crash and burn once the brand takes over and launches the contest phase.  Case in point: Jolly Rancher’s Crunch ‘N Chew video contest.  Late last year Hershey’s ran a Poptent video assignment for their new product, Crunch ‘N Chew Jolly Ranchers.  In total they recived 189 videos which is a hell of a lot of submissions for a Poptent contest.  On Monday the company announced that they had picked three finalists and each winning filmmaker would be getting $2,500.  Then all three videos were posted on Jolly Rancher’s website for a month-long public vote.  After 30 days, the video with the most votes will be purchased by Hershey’s for $7.500.  And the winning filmmaker will be paid an additional $10,000 so they can produce two sequels to their first video. Hershey’s built a beautiful and simple webpage for the contest.  You can see it and all three of the finalist videos by clicking on this image:

Click to check out the actual site

As you can see, one video has already managed to get over 3,000 votes in about 4 days!  (Note: I’m writing this on Thursday night and the voting began on Monday morning.)  The website says you can “vote once a day” but 3,245 votes in 4 days still equals 811 votes a day!  That’s insane.  Unless you’re an Internet superstar, you’re not going to be able to pull down numbers like that.  So where are all those votes coming from?  Well, I did a little test and if you want to vote multiple times in this contest all you have to do is clear your web browser’s history and refresh the page.  Yep, it’s that easy.  You can vote an infinite number of times that way.

So I’m going to guess that most of Video #2′s votes came from the same computer.  Last night at 12:45AM I took a screenshot of the contest site and video #2 had 2,258 votes.  Nine hours later I checked the site again and video #2 was up to 3,022 votes.  So that video gained 764 votes overnight.  Right now it is 9PM on thursday night.  Since 10AM video #2 has only gained 223 votes.  How does a video get 764 votes in the middle of the night but only 223 votes during the day?  The only answer that makes any sense is that somebody stayed up all night voting for the same video over and over.

So these guys are cheaters and they should be disqualified immediately….right?  Wrong.  As far as I’m concerned anyone who casts multiple votes in this contest isn’t doing a damn thing wrong.  If you cheat in a contest you should get disqualified.  But “cheating” is BREAKING THE RULES.  And guess what?

The Jolly Ranchers video contest has no rules.

Seriously.  I’m not trying to be hyperbolic.  There are literally no rules for this contest.  The finalists have received no instructions from the sponsor and there are no rules on the contest site.  And if there are no rules, how can you possibly cheat???  The website says that “You can vote once per day through February 15th!”  But a single, random sentence isn’t legally binding.  And the site certainly doesn’t say you “may not vote more than once per day.”  How are contestants supposed to know what is ok and what isn’t if the sponsor doesn’t bother to tell them?  If Hershey’s REALLY didn’t want people to vote more than once a day, why did they make it so easy to vote over and over?

So frankly, you can’t blame the repeat voters.  The blame here belongs to whoever set up the voting phase of this contest.  I’m simply amazed that someone built that site without realizing people could easily vote for themselves as many times as they wanted.  I mean for Christsakes, $17,500 is at stake.  It’s just human nature to want to do everything you can to win a prize like that.  In fact, I don’t believe that no one realized this would happen.  I’m going to guess that the poor web designer or IT guy who set up the contest site probably tried in vain to explain to the marketing folks running this project that it was going to devolve into a pointless vote-a-thon.  I’ve been a tech and I spent years working with people in marketing.  They seem to just have a biological aversion to hearing about technical problems.  They pretty much just plug their ears and don’t want to acknowledge that something could go wrong.  And if they have to choose between fixing an important technical issue or preserving their vision well…their vision wins out every time.  So some marking person somewhere probably got the idea in their head that voting in this contest should be as simple as possible.  And the vision of a one-click vote wound up trumping common sense.

But as I said, the voting period in this contest lasts until February 15th.  That’s a long ways away.  Hershey’s still has plenty of time to fix this.  Because there are no rules the sponsor has no grounds to disqualify anyone.  And really, they don’t even have cause to throw out any of the votes.  But what they can do is post some freaking RULES.  Then if people get caught breaking those rules the company will have grounds to disqualify them.  But really, I think the smart thing to do at this point is just cancel the vote and pick a winner.  And maybe they can give the non-winners a little extra cash to compensate for what they’ve had to go through this week.  Seriously, this is one of the biggest video contest debacles I’ve ever seen and I would be freaking out if I had to endure a month-long, phony voting process. Right now this is a voting contest, not a video contest and that just sucks.

THURSDAY NIGHT UPDATE:  I was going to wait until Friday morning to post this but I’ll publish it now.  It’s now a little after 12:45AM and Video #2 is now up to 3734 votes.  That means that video received 1,476 votes in the span of 24 hours.  And 480 votes came in between the hours of 9PM and 1AM tonight.  That’s twice the number of votes that video got all day on Thursday.  Again, it’s not really possible to cheat in a contest where there are no rules but someone does seem to be voting for one of the entries over and over.  So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if anyone at Hershey’s cares enough to do anything about this.

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:  Unfortunately, Hershey’s hasn’t done a thing to try and stop this out of control contest.  In fact, they have let things get much, much worse.  Video #2 is now up to 10,134 votes.  That means they got about 6,000 votes in 4 days.  But now, the team who created Video #1 have also apparently decided to try and win this contest.  Yesterday Video #1 had about 1,000 votes.  Today they have 4,000 votes!  As I keep saying, this contest has no rules so none of this can count as cheating.  But I have to ask, what the hell does Hersey gain from running a joke of a contest like this?

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE:  Someone who called himself “Jolly Fan” left a comment accusing me of being the creator of the video that has the least number of votes in this contest.  Just for the record, I am not.  I didn’t even enter the Jolly Rancher assignment.  Click the comments button to see “Jolly Fan’s” very un-friendly message.  If you read between the lines it seems pretty obvious that Jolly Fan is actually the creator of Video #2.

Guest Post: Watch Out, It’s Dot TV

What is "Dot TV"? I actually have no idea

Beardy’s Note:  For the first time ever, VCN is presenting a guest post that was written by an author who would prefer to remain anonymous.  Here’s how this article came to be:  A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from a filmmaker and long-time reader of VCN that was having problem’s with .tv’s “Watch Dot TV” video contest.  The filmmaker had made the finals in the contest and he had a shot at winning the $10,000 grand prize.  The winner of of the contest was supposed to be determined  by facebook votes.  But right away, the voting seemed pretty fishy.  I’ll let our anonymous author tell the rest of the story but as you can probably guess, it doesn’t end well.  Initially I planned to do an article about this debacle myself but I knew the filmmaker could tell his own story better than I ever could.  This contest got pretty ugly and the filmmaker got screwed by the sponsors pretty badly so I suggested that we run this article without revealing the filmmaker’s name.


In the wild west of online video contests, Watch Dot TV, a part of the large Verisign corporation, has set a new low in taking advantage of its contestants. In October they solicited entries and their judges chose the top 10 videos who competed for public votes.   First Prize was $10,000, Second Prize was a Canon 7Dand Third Prize was a Panasonic GH2.

The voting in this contest ended more than a month ago and Dot TV is now over a week late announcing the winners.  They have not issued a single statement despite the plethora of agitated comments on their . Watch Dot Tv’s continued silence is the loudest admission of guilt they could make. They even went so far as to delete people’s comments on their wall demanding accountability.

So what happened?

During the voting, each Facebook user was allowed one vote per day and after 4 days the top two entries had around 500 votes. Within hours the top two increased their lead on the third place by almost double what it took them days to accumulate. After this anomaly I discovered how the top two entries had gotten a huge lead: They exploited an error in the voting system that allowed for more than one vote a day.

Simply opening the voting page in a new tab, or even refreshing the page would allow for multiple votes. I immediately emailed the contest administrator to make them aware of the voting system error and that it has already been taken advantage of by the top two entries.

They responded and said they could not recreate this simple error on their own.

This was the major red flag. I was not trying to explain the error to an Amish craftsman, this was an internet company that could not open their own Facebook page in a new tab and recreate the error.

The two entries had already gained an insurmountable lead and the contest administrator was turning a blind eye. My fear was that they would find and fix the error I made them aware of and then deny it ever existed, meanwhile the two entries would continue to win, and Watch Dot TV would have averted a PR headache.

That’s when I decided to expose the error by voting repeatedly so it could not be ignored and brushed under the rug. As soon as I gained a lead on two winning entries, within minutes, they began exploiting the error to regain their lead. I called in reinforcements to gain such a lead that the two entries would give up, be exposed as exploiting the error, and Watch Dot TV would have to restart the competition. I did gain a 1,000 vote lead and the two entries did stop trying to keep up, so now it was just up to Watch Dot TV to fix the error and restart the competition.

Watch Dot TV’s solution was to reset the number of votes to a previous point in time that the two entries had already gained their lead by exploiting the error. When I commented on Watch Dot TV’s Facebook wall that they did not reset the votes to a point in time before the error occurred, they deleted my comment. Red flag number two.

Dot TV's facebook announcement

I continued to email them the timestamped screenshots I had taken when I exposed the voting error and asked them to address their mistake. There was only a few days left of voting for Watch Dot TV to fix this.

Watch Dot TV didn’t enjoy being called to account. After my pleas in emails and on their Facebook wall to restart the voting, they disqualified me and another entry from the contest. (Beardy’s Note:  For some mysterious reason, the sponsors did not disqualify the two original elleged cheaters.  It seems they only disqualified people who tried to beat those two contestants at their own game.)  The entry in first place remained in that position until the end of the voting period. He was even promising to donate 25% of the prize to the Invisible Children organization in an effort to gain more votes.

There were even people on his facebook wall claiming they were using multiple accounts to vote for his entry. His video also violated the contest’s Official Rules and should have never been chosen as a finalist. His entire video was created by using previously published work, a direct violation of the rules.

I have never seen such disrespectful behavior by a company towards people from which it solicited video entries.

To this day the winner has not been announced and Watch Dot Tv has not issued any statements. (Beardy’s Note:  The entire contest and all the entries have actually been removed from Dot TV’s facebook page)  My only hope is that if they did give the prize money to entry that remained in first, despite having exploited the voting error and violating the official rules, maybe 100% of his prize found its way to the Invisible Children organization.

Watch Dot TV should be ashamed of the unprofessional manner in which it operated the contest and its parent company Verisign should exercise it’s parental responsibilities and put its misbehaved child in permanent timeout.


—  Written by: Anonymous. To learn more about the Invisible Children fund, head here  —


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:

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:  .

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

Mike’s Hard Lemonade “Hard Sports” Winners

This summer, asked their facebook fans to “Submit a humorous and original video demonstrating the determination, hustle and spirit you and/or your team bring to your favorite and fun “HARD SPORTS” activity, such as (but not limited to) kickball, dodgeball, ping pong, Ultimate Frisbee, or cornhole*.”  There was a public voting period but it was only run to determine a set of 20 finalists.  Then a panel of judges picked the top three winners.  First place was $10,000 to be used to support the winners sporting endeavors Second place was $5,000 and third was $2,500.  And as a bonus, the 17 non-winning finalists each recived a mike’s hard lemonade “Sponsorship Kit” that included stuff like Mike’s T-shirts, sweat bands and gym bags plus some sporting equipment.  Each of these kits had an AVR of $500.  So it was a pretty sweet runner-up prize.  Here’s the video that took the top prize.

Grand Prize Winner.  Prize:  $10,000:

Not too shabby. I really admire the fact that these guys decided to shoot in the rain. It really added to the wackiness of the video. If it had been me, I would have canceled the shoot for sure. So good for them for going for it.

Overall, this was a really nice of example of how to run a GOOD video contest on facebook. Yeah, there was public voting but there were 20 finalist slots so anybody who really cared could have made the second round pretty easily. And as I said, judges picked the winners so Mike’s was able to avoid pissing off a bunch of their fans by letting some cheater win the grand prize. And 17 runner up prizes worth $500 each really showed that Mike’s actually respected and appreciated all of their finalists. If by chance some contest organizer reads this post, I hope you’ll take a lesson from this contest. It was fun and fair and a good model to follow. The rules are still online if you want to read the fine print for yourself.

*I’m going to assume (and hope) that they type of corn-holing they are referring to is a game of bean bags.

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