This post is the first in a seven-part series that looks at how to plan and execute a successful online video contest. We'll examine what separates the successful video contests from the unsuccessful one's, and offer a road map marketers can use to help ensure a great contest. Throughout the next six weeks, we'll look at the different elements of a successful video contest, breaking down into three categories: Premise, Prize & Promotion.

How To Run A Successful Online Video Contest: An Overview launch pad 6 logo 200x96 This post was made possible by Launchpad6, an out of the box solution for creating video contests. With Launchpad6, contests can be customized to your brand and include a dedicated Microsite, Facebook Application & Mobile Site. To download the FREE 'Running a successful video contest' whitepaper, click here.

Video Contests Defined

A video contest is any contest whereby the mechanism for entry is uploading a video. According to research carried out by Launchpad6 and OVC, there are upwards of 2000 video contests run every year. As you read this, there are numerous video contests being run by major brands, including:

  • Doritos
  • American Express
  • Chevrolet
  • Intel
  • Asus
  • Dell
  • Samsung

Probably the most well-known video contest, Crash the Superbowl by Doritos is currently running and is offering a $1 million prize for the winner. To date, it has attracted more than 100 entries and has over a month to go in the submission process. Not a bad result at all.

The 3-part Success Formula – Premise, Prize, Promotion

The team over at Launchpad6 has created a 3-step success formula that should help you come up with a great contest idea, offer the right prizes and choose the right promotional mix to help ensure your contest is a success.

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Premise refers to the contest idea and is the most important part of a successful video contest. By asking yourself the following questions, you should be able to determine if your contest idea will be successful:

  • Is content readily available or easily created?
  • Is the content itself interesting?
  • Is the content shareable?
  • Is there enough passion for the idea?
  • Is there an element of voyeurism involved?
  • Are you harnessing group mentalities?


While big cash prizes can bring your contest a lot of attention and help you gain reach, it is often more niche prizes that get better results as they appeal to your target market and drive sales. Here are some thoughts to ponder:

  • Does the prize appeal to my target market?
  • Is it unique and attractive?
  • Is the prize valuable to my target market?
  • How can I offer supplementary or bonus prizes?


Video Contests have a natural self-promotion mechanism as uploaders tell their friends vote on their video. However, it is essential to promote your contest and get as many initial entrants as possible. Consider these promotional ideas:

  • Create a contest video and seed around the web
  • List your contest in directory sites
  • Utilise product packaging
  • Harness your social channels
  • Consider partnering with an industry publication

As the weeks go by and the series progresses, we will elaborate on these points and give you more ideas and information to help make your video contest a success. Either stay tuned for the next post, or download the whitepaper from Launchpad6.

  • Oleg Tsykanov

    Amount of Prize defenatly motivate.

  • Renny Fidlon

    There are several differences when creating a video contest that should be determined. First, what is the goal of your contest. Many contest (like Doritos), create their contests in order to achieve user engagement. The contest itself becomes the marketing tool. In these cases, the resultant videos are almost secondary to the contest itself. Generally speaking, the videos that are a result of these contests are defined as UGC or user-generated content.

    The second type of video contest is one in which the contest is intended to result in engaging and authentic videos that can then be used in social media and online marketing campaigns. These require a different kind of contest. In this case, the brand needs to activate a community of professional freelance videographers. These are people who understand how to create effective marketing materials. The process organically offers an authenticity that usually cannot be created through traditional production methods.

    Both types are equally valid. They just require different approaches. As with any marketing campaign, it is important to identify your goals before you develop a strategy and tactics.