The winning commercial from the Heinz Top This TV Challenge aired last night during the Emmys. And even though I got five stitches in my middle finger yesterday I will blog about this and fix all my typos - because love hurts, and I love ketchup and I love my readers.
When I first looked at the 15 finalist videos up on the Heinz site a few weeks ago I noticed that they fell into three categories 1) cute, nostalgic ketchup spots that fit nicely with the mush you expect Heinz's ad agency to come up with 2) videos that looked like they were made professionally by a group of video producers* and 3) unfunny crap. (*My professionally produced suspicions were confirmed when I received an awful pitch email from some women encouraging me to vote for the video that "her friend's company" made.) Predictably, the winning video, "Kissable Ketchup" fell into category A - depicting an Ohio man's stepson getting a kiss on the cheek from a young girl after giving her the final squirt of ketchup.
Overall I think this contest generated a lot of positive buzz for Heinz, but given that I follow the brand closely and create social media campaigns for a living - I have some strong feelings on how this could have been done better:
- Fix the submission snafu. Over 25% of submissions were DQ'd when the entry rules apparently changed, instead of launching a second contest this fall I would have extended the entry deadline. (Read more here)
- Allow video embeds. Embed codes were never offered on the Heinz site, and were disabled for the 15 finalist videos hosted on the Challenge's YouTube Channel. Creating word of mouth is a huge part of this sort of campaign, and disallowing embeds denies individuals the chance to virally expose others to rich, branded content.
- Direct links to videos. If you ain't gonna do embeds, at least give us a direct link to the video to use! This was not an option on the Heinz site or the YouTube channel. There is nothing worse than getting an email that says, "Check this out, click here, scroll half way down the page and click on the third video from the right." You lost half your potential click throughs during the scroll.
- Utilize YouTube. If you're going to have a channel - use it! Allow all the bells and whistles like embeds, view counts, links, honors, etc. It's what makes YouTube different and more interactive than your campaign site.
- Ride The Hype. Post the winning video as soon as possible and leave finalists on the site and YouTube Channel as artifacts of the contest. If you go to the YouTube channel right now there are no submissions, no winners - just a banner telling me to watch the Emmys (which were on last night) and a grey box saying the contest is over.
Overall it was a great idea, with mediocre execution. It will be interesting to see how the second Top This TV Challenge goes this fall - I can't recall a company doing this sort of consumer generated contest so soon after another - so time will tell if there is such a thing as too much ketchup.