NewTeeVee uses the now familiar ‘ad in the middle of the Superbowl’ test to conclude that recent trend towards user generated commercial contests may be at an end. The trend was noted in 2006 but was really kicked along by a contest to make an ad for Doritos, winner to be screened during last year’s Superbowl.
Sizable cash prizes were still offered for all of these contests — the winner of the Kraft ad took home $50,000 while the Doritos winner pocketed just $10,000 — but the problem is that when you raise the dollar amount, you appeal more to the contest-entering set, as opposed to the skilled professionals looking for exposure. So the quality of UGC ads submitted won’t be as high.
And the UGC world can be risky. Chevy learned first-hand what happens when you make your UGC contest too open — users uploaded spoof commercials that made fun of the gas-guzzling Chevy Tahoe. And as The New York Times recently reported, Subway, Quizno’s and iFilm are heading to court over a UGC commercial contest in which Quizno’s openly called on participants to create video spots that bash rival sandwich shop Subway. The contest was held in the fall of 2006; the trial isn’t scheduled to start until 2009.
But despite all this, there are some signs of life for user-created commercials. XLNT Ads just signed Nestle to use its UGC approach. And a company out of Vancouver, Canada, called Memelabs is hoping to build a business out of UGC ads for companies, and has already landed clients including Wells Fargo (you could catch that winner during the Rose Bowl Parade).