Posts Tagged ‘ video ’

Great talent doesn’t require a big budget

NOV. 11 UPDATE: The commercial is now completed and uploaded to Doritos’ website. You can check it out here (just wait for Doritos to load all their promo animation). Let me know what you think or comment directly on the site.

For the past week, several of my most talented friends have spent more than 12 hours each doing corporate advertising work … for free.

It’s a pretty good deal if you’re the company we’re working for.

That company is Doritos, arguably the first major brand to fully grasp and trust in the power of user-generated content. This is the fourth-consecutive year the chip maker has entrusted the mighty responsibility of creating Super Bowl ads to everyday consumers. With a Monday deadline looming, there are already more than 600 entries uploaded to Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl site.

We’ll soon be joining that group, once my 8-person team completes some final edits on our 30-second spot. Putting together a quality submission required hours of brainstorming ideas, an evening of auditions for actors, a full day of set-up and filming, a couple of late nights in the editing suite, and a two-hour reshoot this evening.

Unless our ad is picked as one of the top six, we won’t be paid a dime for that work.

But there’s still ample self-incentive. The top six each get a $25,000 prize. The best of that bunch get the fame of airing during this season’s Super Bowl, with the possibility of millions more in prizes depending on how the ad is rated by viewers.

To poor grad students, this is a substantial amount, certainly enough to justify hours upon hours worth of labor. To Doritos, it represents just a pittance of what it would cost to hire a professional advertising agency, with no guarantees the company would even like the final product.

By going the user-generated route, Doritos’ marketing executives are only paying for the content they like. What’s more, they’re tapping into a groundswell of underground talent and creativity that’s eager and willing to take a shot at fame. The high price of technology was once a barrier of entry for amateur filmmakers like the ones making spots for Doritos. Now all the basic software and equipment is affordable without having to own an entire production studio.

It’s not like the winning entries have suffered in comparison to their big-budget counterparts. Take the 2007 winner, the first year of the contest. It’s by no means as polished as most network TV ads, but it’s a funny concept that executed with a lo-fi charm.

The following year, the winning entry (the one posted above) featured an absurdist form of comedy that for my money was among the very best of all Super Bowl ads, easily topping many that cost $1 million or more to produce. The slapstick comedy of the 2009 winner wasn’t as much to my tastes, but it proved immensely popular with viewers.

These ads prove that it doesn’t take millions in expensive equipment to produce an effective ad. The companies willing to trust consumers to produce content — not just in advertising but in news and entertainment — have opportunities to save millions of dollars through tapping talent that for years was stuck in a dormant state.

Now this talent is active and thriving thanks to technology. High-dollar professional agencies, take note. And be warned.

Marketing speeds along a two-way street

This afternoon I bummed a ride, and joined a movement.

The short trip to Greensboro for a class project came inside the much hyped Ford Fiesta. Why so much buzz around this compact car? Well, the fact that it won’t be available to the American general public until next year certainly is a factor.

I enjoyed my preview thanks to a dynamic marketing campaign that epitomizes the new communication models my fellow iMedia students and I designed in class this morning. Rather than just create a bunch of promotional materials and force feed them to the public through traditional channels, Ford held a video contest to create a corps of 100 talented, creative minds plugged into social media. The winners were given a free Fiesta to drive for six months, with the only stipulation that they create fresh content about the product and spread it throughout the web.

My iMedia classmate David Parsons was among those chosen for this “Fiesta Movement.” Now he produces videos and other multimedia content on a regular basis with hardly any control on Ford’s part, and the result is an entertaining mix of spots that can gain traction and fans on the web in a way television commercials never could.

It’s this kind of marketing (call it viral, call it spreadable, whatever your distribution adjective of choice) that anticipates the new communications model made possible by the Internet. While old theories of communication focused on the transaction of a message from sender to receiver, now anyone who creates content spreads it around to many different online communities, and each of them redefines and reshapes the message based on their own perspectives and experiences. The original creator may get his message sent back from multiple sources, each time in a different form. We created a graphic representation of our model that’s shown below.

Think of Ford as the producer in this model, sending out it’s message (the Fiesta) to 100 “prosumers,” a term my class made up to define the consumers of today who produce their own content. David is one of those, and the way he spins the message of the Fiesta into new creative content gets shared with his network of friends and colleagues, who in turn may write about the car themselves or edit their own videos. All the results eventually come back to Ford, which can learn from the negative feedback to improve the product for the 2010 roll-out and use the positive feedback to build marketing buzz. It’s the new communications model in action. All it takes is a ride down the highway to join the two-way conservation.

communications_model

Would you like some video with that magazine?

With circulation for print media outlets plummeting along with ad revenues, ideas abound on how to “save” the industry.

  • Charge for content
  • Go hyperlocal
  • Cut staff
  • Blog more
  • Pretend you “get” Twitter

Here’s the latest idea: replace ink with pixels.

This week Entertainment Weekly is debuting a new chip that embeds video into the a page of the print edition. It’s an ad for CBS’ new fall lineup, with around 40 minutes of video clips on upcoming shows, kicked off with a comical intro from the stars of The Big Bang Theory. Right now the cost of the chip is keeping the ad only running in major markets, but the technology is widely available and could very well pop up in other magazines in the near future.

The instant association (well, at least for Harry Potter fans) is the moving pictures of the fictional Daily Prophet, a seemingly magical version of the newspaper that also mirrors what the movie Minority Report envisioned as the future of “print” journalism.

We’re not that far off from such a possibility, with innovations rapidly developing with e-ink that can transpose digital images onto screens that have the size and flexibility of paper. If you’re a fan of Esquire Magazine, you’re probably already familiar with this technology, as that publication used e-ink for the cover of its 75th anniversary issue last year.

All these developments have a “wow” factor at first and attract immediate attention. But beyond the novelty, whether video in print succeeds depends in large part on how closely it will mirror the website experience. In the case of a video chip touting CBS’s shows, the end result is a low-quality version of something that can be just as easily accessed at a number of web sites. Why watch standard video in a magazine when we all have multiple options for high quality video at our fingertips.

The e-ink developments have more long-term potential in that they provide multimedia content while maintaining the thin, foldable format that is the one advantage print media now has going for it over websites. Then again, as smart phones become more advanced and wi-fi networks ubiquitous, online multimedia is almost as portable as a rolled up magazine. We may have to change our entire definition of “print,” because there will soon be no reason to consume news and entertainment through old fashioned ink on paper. But if we can go digital with a material that’s just as easy to stuff into your carry-on bag, perhaps what we know as “print” can live on in the age of interactive media.