At the risk of pigeonholing myself as "the guy who writes about online video Super Bowl contests," I'd like to take a moment and tell you about Career Builder's plans for this year's big game.
Career Builder has a nice, solid history of success with their Super Bowl spots—you might remember last year's entry with the all-out office warfare in a real jungle. They've been advertising on the NFL's biggest game for six years., or the previous year's spots featuring
This year they decided to go the "user-generated" route, and allow people like you and me to submit ideas (and concept videos) for a Career Builder Super Bowl commercial. The requirements were that the concepts incorporate the company's tag line ("Start Building”), incorporate humor, and reinforce the idea that Career Builder is a powerful job resource.
After receiving over 1,000 entries, the company chose three finalists and had each concept professionally developed and filmed—the finalists even got to be there for filming. Oh, and they each got $100,000. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'd call that kind of cash prize a win in my book any day, even if my idea went on to lose the final vote.
Now Career Builder is seeking your votes to help them determine which of the three spots will actually air during the second quarter of the Super Bowl.. Let's take a look at the three spots, shall we?
In my mind, the first spot is clearly the best. It's grabs your attention, puts the viewer right into the "workplace" state of mind, and most importantly… it's funny. I got a small chuckle out of the Job Fairy one—when the squirrels showed up—but that's it. And the Worst Seat spot is kind of… I don't know… juvenile, even for a Super Bowl spot. Not that people running around the office in their underwear isn't juvenile… but, the third spot made me laugh the least, and kind of made me uncomfortable. CBS must have agreed with me, because they labeled that video "too hot for TV.”
I voted for Casual Friday.
So again we have user-generated commercials headed to the Super Bowl. I have to wonder, though, what the motivation is for these companies. Are they doing these contests because they think they get better material? Or is it because they want the added brand mileage they can get out of the buzz surrounding the contest itself (like getting twice the brand awareness than a standard single ad)?
There is quite clearly a wealth of untapped creativity among the masses, as both Doritos and Career Builder have already proven with their respective contests this year. It's considerably cheaper for brands to mine the minds of the citizens than to go to Madison Avenue for a killer concept—cheap enough for Career Builder to dole out $300,000 in prizes just for the three finalists' ideas. And, such contests obviously generate more brand awareness and buzz—these three finalist videos each has over 100,000 views already, and the Super Bowl isn't for three more weeks.
Part of me worries that it's simply that YouTube and "user-generated" are seen by the corporate world as fads… popular gimmicks that they'll abandon just as quickly as they embraced them. But regardless of Career Builder's ultimate motivation, it's clear that online video is having an even greater impact on this year's Super Bowl commercials than ever before.