The Modern Media Agency Series is presented by IDG. CenturyLink thought an online game would engage IT professionals. In eight months, 90,000 people played the trivia contest. IDG’s Howard Sholkin spoke with CenturyLink’s Joanne Kernie at the awards ceremony and digital conference in March 2012.
Crowdsourcing is not a new concept for the world of advertising -- focus groups have existed for years, and still do. But crowdsourcing has moved online.
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The Doritos brand claims that its core mission is to challenge the status quo and hand the power over to its consumers. The company also believes this program is an opportunity to help promote creative individuals.
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"We always knew that our consumers had creativity at the highest level, and they've had amazing success from the program," says Chris Kuechenmeister, senior director of public relations for Frito-Lay North America. "We've had the number one act on the USA Today AdMeter because of our consumers."
After combing through 6,200 video entries, Doritos offered its five finalists the chance to win a $1 million prize if their commercial concept hit the number one spot on the USA Today AdMeter. This year the winners were also incentivized with the chance to work with The Lonely Island, SNL comedian Andy Samberg's musical trio.
Another first this year: USA Today ran a Facebook Super Bowl Ad meter, with a separate $1 million up for grabs. The new AdMeter allowed users to view and vote on the ads.
Two different Doritos commercials -- "Man's Best Friend" and "Sling Baby" -- won first in the USA Today and Facebook AdMeter. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how a consumer-generated campaign translated into big returns for the chip brand.
How Technology Turned the Underdog Into a Film-Making Rock Star
Not only have crowdsourcing and social media created the opportunity for literally anyone to be showcased, but there are also tons of advances in technology that make it easy for a participant to compete -- and win -- on what Kuechenmeister describes as a “shoestring budget.”
This year, the winning ad on the USA Today AdMeter, “Man's Best Friend,” was created for just $20. Creator Jonathan Friedman, a freelance graphic designer and musician, used the money to buy dog treats, a cat collar and a bag of Doritos. Friedman then shot the video with the equipment he already owned, and then edited the whole thing on his computer.
“He was able to use technology and some scrappy resources to essentially beat dozens and dozens of videos that were created by high-end ad agencies who spent tons of dollars, and he was a million-dollar winner because of it,” says Kuechenmeister.
Kuechenmeister says many of the finalists go on to do some noteworthy things in film, advertising and other creative industries. Past contestants have been signed by big agents and other major Hollywood influencers -- including a winner that was picked up by George Lucas. In short, the program has become a successful springboard into much bigger projects for many of these participants.
“They’ve used this as an opportunity to create something new, and now they can showcase this in their reel," says Kuechenmeister. "It helps open up new opportunities to showcase their work because they participated in this contest."
Behind the Scenes of a Super Bowl Ad Campaign
Relying on the consumer to create videos for the Super Bowl, perhaps the biggest event to showcase commercials, is not necessarily an easy feat. Doritos launches the program right around the beginning of the football season, and requires a small army of agencies and an incredible amount of hours devoted to watching thousands of submissions.
This year, Goodby Silverstein and Partners, the ad agency behind the creative aspects of the program, spent five days straight watching the 6,200 entries.
"It's still definitely a lot of work to set up a system to curate all the entries, and to make sure that you've generated a program that will give you back successful material," says GSP's Communication Strategy Director Max Heilbron.
The teams that watch these videos have been doing this for years, says Heilbron. One of the things they take into consideration when selecting the finalists is what will perform at the Super Bowl.
Social media also has to be factored into the selection process, not only because it's a huge resource for the entrants to drum up support, but from the brand's perspective, a video needs to perform. The other major winner of Doritos' program, "Sling Baby," was the first commercial to win the Facebook AdMeter and scored fourth on the USA Today AdMeter.
And watching the videos is just one part of the process. Running a Super Bowl ad, whether it’s made by the company or crowdsourced by the consumer, requires an army of agencies to operate smoothly. The Marketing Agency, which is attributed with the original concept of the contest, manages the contest. Ketchum PR, OMD and entertainment marketing agency UEG also performed core functions for the contest and helped to secure The Lonely Island as a partner, which was a nice draw for contestants.
"The cash prize is great, but when interviewing [finalists], we learned from so many of them that a huge incentive was because they were just trying to get their foot in the door, to get a job in the entertainment industry or advertising industry," says Heilbron. "So to sweeten the deal a bit, we thought it would be nice if part of the prize was to work with The Lonely Island on a project in the future."
Will we be seeing Crash the Super Bowl in future years? That depends. Doritos evaluates the success of the program every year, and then determines if it will bring it back in the future. It’s yet to be confirmed if we’ll see another success story like this year's winners, but Kuechenmeister says the Doritos brand team is “extremely pleased and proud of this year's program.”
Series presented by IDG
The Modern Media Agency Series is presented by IDG. The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. Who would’ve thought a trivia contest would attract 90,000 players? CenturyLink did. The game for IT decision-makers won the online vote for best tech program in BtoB’s People’s Choice Social Media Marketing awards, and more than half of the game players also registered on the site. IDG Strategic Marketing Services was the premier sponsor for the third straight year of the BtoB program.
IDG’s Howard Sholkin interviewed CenturyLink Marketing Director Joanne Kernie at the awards ceremony and digital conference in March 2012.
This story originally published on Mashable here.