MGM is the latest studio to reach out to fans to help promote one of its films, the upcoming "Lions for Lambs". In a deal with Google/YouTube, the studio is sponsoring a contest in which users can submit a 90 second video on a topic they're passionate about. Entries are being accepted until Oct. 17th and the winner, who will have $25,000 donated to a charity of his/her choice, will be selected on Nov 9th.
This promotion follows the mashup competition Metacafe and Universal conducted this past summer around the studio's "Bourne Ultimatum" release. At the time, I noted that broadband is introducing a whole new element into the film marketing equation, opening up huge opportunities for creativity and fan involvement. As the tools continue to improve I expect we're going to see a lot more of these "UGC-assisted" campaigns.
Studios (and others) are going to continue to experiment with just how much fans are willing to be a part of the marketing machinery. Of course nobody knows, but my guess is that if the incentives are right, the promotions are fun and the stars are compelling, it's going to be a pretty rich vein for film marketers to tap into.