Once again, Amazon is running a “Design your own Kindle Commercial” contest. The deadline to submit a single video with original soundtrack and footage is August 29th. You have to be a resident of the U.S. to enter this contest. The winner will receive a $15,000 Amazon gift card and the four runners up $2,500 gift cards. These kinds of contests seem to provide great opportunities for under-recognized professionals to strut their stuff, although I’m sure that the submissions include a lot of good amateur ones as well. Last year's submission helped the careers of the winning producer-director team, the team who wrote and recorded the music, and the team who did the actual video.
Here's the winning submission from last year's contest:
Last year’s winners, Angela Kohler and Ithyle Griffiths produced and directed the winning video, using a stop motion video approach that won them not only the first prize, but the opportunity to produce two more videos for Amazon.
Annie Little and Marcus Ashley met in Los Angeles, California several years ago. After playing open-mics and listening to music together, their friendship evolved into the duo Little and Ashley, currently co-writing, producing, and performing the songs featured in the latest Amazon Kindle commercials. The songs in the Amazon commercials began with photographer/director Angela Kohler and production partner Ithyle Griffiths inviting Annie to collaborate with them for an Amazon Kindle video contest, which they proceeded to shoot in a single seven hour day in July 2009. In addition to Little & Ashley performing and co-writing the accompanying song “Fly Me Away”, Annie also starred in the commercial, which ultimately won both the Audience and the Amazon Jury prize. The winning entry is currently airing on television in addition to a subsequent Kindle commercial that features Annie on-screen as well as Little and Ashley’s song “Stole My Heart”, available on their new EP along with “Fly Me Away” and two additional tracks—“Still Missing You” and “Telegrams to Mars”—exclusively on Amazon.
The Amazon commercials cemented Angela Kohler’s and Ithyle Griffiths stature as writers and directors in the advertising world. Their Hellman’s Love Notes TV ad aired in June, 2010 during the World Cup and is featured on Hellman’s Facebook page.
The video team who shot and produced the Hellman’s and the Amazon commercials were Gallant and Keen, who have their own YouTube channel featuring all of these stop motion video ads.
Bottom line for contestants: If you plan to enter (and win) one of these crowdsourcing contests, you’ll be competing with multiple professionals.
TAKE-AWAYS: For companies: Running a commercial contest is a bargain! Look at the quality of work you gain complete Intellectual Property control over for a pittance compared to what you’d pay an agency to do this work, as well as the buzz you create in running the contest.
For musicians, artists, videographers: hook yourself to a winning team, invest the time and effort and have your social media strategy in place!
What’s too bad is that Amazon does not let the general public see all the contest submissions. It’s a closed judging process. Too bad! I think it’s fine to have professional judges (Amazon has two independent panels of judges), but it would be nice if, at the same time, the rest of us could view and vote. It would generate more buzz.