For the seventh consecutive year, Doritos is asking consumers to submit and vote on videos for its Super Bowl ads. This frame is from “Fashionista Daddy” by Mark Freiburger of Charlotte, one of five finalists competing to air in the Super Bowl Feb. 3.
To secure a spot on television’s largest stage, some brands will spend millions in exchange for a few seconds of screen time.
But film producer Vinnie Taranto is using a different approach: the combination of a rescue dog, a bear actor and a creative punch line. While working on a film project with his brother Joe, the production team decided to put together a quick video for Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest.
“Fetch only took one weekend to shoot, but we’ve been promoting it for months,” Taranto said. “Having millions of people watch our commercial is nerve-wracking, but it’s a great opportunity to have the support of a big brand.”
Now one of five finalists, Taranto and the rest of the Fetch production team will watch the game with director Michael Bay as they wait for the winning announcement. Doritos’ user-generated video campaign has enjoyed success over the past seven years, and now more brands are hoping to follow suit.
The strategy is simple: Grab consumers’ attention by harnessing the power of the crowd, especially young consumers already tied into social media, by getting them directly involved. When more than 100 million fans across the country tune in for the Super Bowl this Sunday, they won’t just be keeping an eye out for big plays — they’ll be looking for friends’ pictures, fan-voted features and commercials they helped put on the screen.
Audi let fans choose the ending to its prom-inspired commercial. Pepsi received almost 100,000 fan pictures vying to be in its Super Bowl slot, with 50 fans even making it onto the field for the halftime show. Even more traditional marketers such as Lincoln are turning to crowd-sourced marketing campaigns.
“It’s a way to reach audiences in a way they aren’t expecting. When you place control in the audience’s hands, they take on a level of ownership and promote the brand by sharing and contributing to the campaign,” Taranto said.
Soliciting the crowd can mean big returns for brands willing to take the risk, thanks to the viral nature of social media and the potential for months of big buzz surrounding online teasers and post-game response.
Carolyn Baumgarten, an account coordinator for marketing agency SociaLogic, said audience involvement is the best way to get the most mileage out of advertising campaigns.
“When you involve the audience, you give them a reason to share the content and expand the reach of the brand,” Baumgarten said. “I think for our generation there’s this inherent need for involvement and recognition, so when brands reach out for the consumers contribution they get excited.”
Beyond marketing for a Super Bowl audience, user-generated content is proving to be effective for a growing collection of brands.
Take the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s campaign, #UWRightNow. Using tweets, pictures and videos from students and faculty, the university built a 24-hour campaign to give a glimpse into the world of the UW community.
Though limited by the amount of the audience that chooses to participate, Baumgarten said the trend will have ripple effects for years to come thanks to its ability to bring a fresh perspective to brand marketing.
“The consumers have some powerful things to say and unique ways to spread the brand that the company might not have been brave enough to try before,” Baumgarten said. “When you take the idea process out of the boardroom, it’s possible to get more creative with potential marketing ideas.”
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