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Amazon is tapping into their user community even further with a contest to create a television ad. Your Amazon Ad Contest  asks customers to make a short video advertising the mega-shopping site. Two winners will receive $10,000 Amazon gift cards and a screening at a New York City film festival. This is another smart way the e-marketing giant is utilizing their fans and users.

User Generated Film Crew

What I like about this is that the company is not only leveraging user generated content for its purposes while also compensating the users for their contributions. Rewarding creators monetarily is one of the components that is lacking in today’s social media universe.  Advertising “by the people” goes back to the 1950’s when television advertisers relied heavily on jingles. Contests would give the general public a shot at writing a national commercial jingle. An interesting film about this part of advertising history is The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio starring Julianne Moore as a mother who enters jingle contests to support her ten children.  

I was skeptical that Amazon’s community could produce an advertisement that would match the high production value seen on the screen these days. However, they will only buy airtime and actually run the TV spots if solid, high quality creative is generated.

If this contest is widely successful for Amazon, it will be interesting to witness the disruption if companies start to bypass their agencies and tap into their user pool directly for advertisement. 

Similar contests are happening at Current TV, Al Gore’s Emmy Award winning cable network, with two huge companies - T-Mobile and Unilever. Unilever’s is asking Current TV viewers to create ads for Axe Hair Crisis products. The winner will get $2,500, but could collect $60,000 if the ad is broadcast beyond the network.  Similarly, T-Mobile is asking viewers to produce ads for their Sidekick LX phone.

As tapping into user generated content and creativity becomes more common, it will be exciting to see users rewarded and their work married with professional production.

Source: Brandweek Article Amazon Preps TV Return

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