Thursday, May 12, 2011, 8:13 AM ET|Posted by Will RichmondOne of the things about online video that has always intrigued me is how it gives brands innovative ways to engage with target consumers. Thus, a promotional email I received last night, as a parent of a 9-year old Little Leaguer, caught my attention. Little League has partnered with Hilton HHonors for a "play of the week" contest, which calls for parents to submit videos of their favorite plays (aka their kid's shining moments) to a special section of Hilton HHonors Facebook page. Each week that batch of videos will be judged and a winner will be placed into a group of 20 finalists, eligible for prizes. From my perspective, the contest is a home run for all parties.
Hilton HHonors gains 100% share of voice in a campaign that positions them nicely as a "good guy," helping parents draw attention to their kid's on-field accomplishments. The company also gains all the contact information for each participant, giving it valuable information for future communications.
For Little League, in addition to the campaign being a revenue generator, it's a clever way of keeping parents attending and engaged with the games themselves (if you've ever sat on the sidelines of a Little League game you'll notice that parental attention is easily diverted from the slow-paced game by neighborly chit-chat, except during the periodic moments of excitement. Yes that's baseball). With the new contest, video camera-wielding parents have to be watching closely; the unexpected double play or line-drive snag could happen at any moment.
For the parents the contest hits the bull's eye, offering a prime opportunity to be the proud papa or mama, with the prospect of heightened bragging rights for having their kid's play become the week's winner or better. In this respect, the contest is another example of "purpose-driven user-generated video" which I've written about periodically. All of the experience that so many millions of people have gained by uploading amateur videos to YouTube can now be leveraged in new contests like these.
Last but not least, Facebook is a winner because the contest gets people visiting the site, exposing them to the social network's benefits, increasingly the likelihood that they'll share and get further engaged.
Bottom line: everyone appears to gain from the contest, and no doubt others like it will follow.