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For those who have always wanted to star in a major advertising campaign, but are not quite willing to give it all up to move to Hollywood, several retail chains have another idea. Make your own commercial, starring yourself but also promoting their products, and maybe they will highlight your work on their own social media and websites.

For the retailers, the benefits are evident. For very little investment, they gain access to diverse and creative marketing efforts, reflecting consumers’ real experience with their products. They can use the resulting videos as traditional advertising, while also promoting the contest itself as an example of their close links with customers.

For example, The Container Store’s video contest sought videos of up to 3 minutes long that featured three key programs that the retailer runs, namely, the new built-in closet line TSC Closets, its POP! Customer engagement efforts, and its in-home organizational service Contained Home. On social media, other consumers and fans could vote for their favorite submissions. The ten winners appeared on The Container Store’s website; the top four vote getters also were highlighted in a YouTube campaign.

Lo-res_MHHE005222-SRather than a particular initiative by the retailer, some contests focus on a specific event or tie-in. In its collaboration with Asics, Foot Locker encouraged shoppers to submit athletic films, emphasizing their reasons for running and its influence on their lives, in the weeks leading up to the New York City Marathon. Around the Super Bowl, Hannaford Supermarkets solicited videos of customers’ best end zone dances.

Others are more focused on finding out how consumers use the products in their daily lives. Thus for example, the Dunkin’ Donuts contest sought videos and pictures that depicted how consumers found joy by consuming their favorite coffee, and Cabela’s asked its customers to post videos of the favorite outdoor adventures.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do such video contests successfully engage customers?
  2. Are they worth the trouble? Why or why not?

Source: Tom Ryan, “How Do Video Contests Help Retailers,” Retail Wire, February 5, 2016