Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 10:57 PM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Baby Ruth hit a home run at Tuesday night's All-Star Game with its "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" user generated video contest. The contest was heavily promoted during the All-Star Game and ran in association with Major League Baseball.
In case you missed it, the challenge was to creatively sing the classic ballpark tune in 2 minutes or less. The contest received dozens of submissions, which were then narrowed to a list of finalists, judged by a committee of three. The judging criteria was weighted heavily toward originality, but also included creative use and/or incorporation of the Baby Ruth brand, ensuring that the candy maker got strong visibility in the videos. The winner got to perform during the 7th inning of the game. (I didn't see this part of the game, so I don't know if it happened. Note a peeve is that MLB/Baby Ruth should be offering video of the winner singing at Yankee Stadium, which would be an instant classic, but doesn't seem to be.)
Still, I'm a big fan of UGV contests like this especially when the brand, contest and tie-in event all harmonize, as was the case with this Baby Ruth contest. Though these contests require significant upfront coordination, the payoff is that they are a unique branding opportunity that can inexpensively break through today's ad clutter. Not to mention these contests are a real crowd-pleaser, playing on the same voyeuristic viewer impulses that programs like American Idol have tapped into brilliantly.
I've said repeatedly that the abundant volume of UGV available at YouTube and elsewhere provides evidence that there's a ton of amateur talent out there. Brands and others that figure out how to leverage it can generate excitement and deepen customer engagement. In addition - and with a little luck - these videos can also turn into viral sensations, driving a near infinite ROI for the underlying brand.
Other recent examples that combine UGV with high profile events include Dove's "Supreme Cream Oil Body Wash Ad Contest" (in conjunction with the Academy Awards) and MySpace/NBC's "Decision '08 Convention Contest" (in conjunction with this summer's political conventions). I expect more to come. If you see examples, please let me know!
What do you think? Post a comment now!