User-Generated Ad Contest Leads To User-Generated Backlash

from the how-quickly-things-change dept

With the rise of YouTube and other user-generated and user-uploaded content sites, advertisers have been trying to take advantage of them, either by posting their ads, or by leveraging users' creativity (and willingness to work for free) by asking them to create their own ads. Frito-Lay ran one of the first high-profile user-generated campaigns, in which they offered users a chance to have their ad broadcast during the Super Bowl, and plenty of other brands have followed with similar contests. These contests seek to capitalize on consumers' passion -- either for the product in question, or for creating content. The problem, of course, is that when participants feel hard done by, that passion will dictate some sort of backlash, as Malibu Caribbean Rum is now discovering. It ran a run-of-the-mill contest, asking users to submit their own video ads, with the winner receiving $25,000 or a banana grove. All was well until the winners were announced, with some users claiming the results were rigged. They're now kicking up a fuss, including (of course) posting a video, which in itself, hardly provides conclusive evidence that the fix was in. Regardless, the damage is already done, as the allegations that Malibu cheated participants circulate, and make their way into the mainstream media. Advertisers need to recognize that this sort of thing is a two-way street: while they seek to take advantage of users' passion, that passion can can quickly become anger if users feel mistreated.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2007 @ 2:39pm

    Duh? These people had enough free time on their hands to make the ad for free... of course they have time to bitch. Welcome to reality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    interval, 27 Jun 2007 @ 2:47pm


    I generally enjoy the coverage techdirt has on the copyright wars lately, this is the only forum that is really carrying the torch for that coverage, but this is a big ho-hum. Couldn't care less about this one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kuru Oujou, 27 Jun 2007 @ 2:56pm

    Here is a differing point of view

    I didn't enter the contest. I haven't even heard about this until just now. I didn't read the article, because I just wanted to see what I would say by exclusively the youtube comments and videos. Here is what I think:

    1. The video was vary poorly made. Paint and winmovmaker. That made it very difficult to tell what points they were trying (poorly) to make, so I don't believe that video.

    2. All but 1 of the comments I found were conspiracy theorists. The 1 I did find only linked to another video (see next point). If it is possible to remove particular comments on your own video, than perhaps they only kept the comments against the contest...but, that's a different discussion.

    3. The video that I did find in the comments: looked to be another contest entry, however, if you look in the comments, there are several good points by one particular person.

    So, there are my thoughts. Like them or not, they are simply what I came up with. (and to think, I usually agree with conspiracy theorists. wow, this is weird for me.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      the real deal, 28 Jun 2007 @ 12:12pm

      Re: Here is a differing point of view

      I was just curious about how much rabble-rousing that "conspiracy video" had stirred up so I googled - Malibu rum contest angry - I'm the poster of the video you linked to (if you don't believe me, email me at youtube and I'll confirm it) - I've since taken my comments down but left the others up. Originally I posted my comments on the "conspiracy video" and they were taken down, that's why I posted them on my vid.__Do I think mine was better, sure, I'm sure everybody thinks theirs should have won.__The main problem now is that if you look at the rules, they are worded very poorly:

      _"Judging Criteria: Submissions shall be judged by Sponsor or representative appointed by Sponsor according to the _following judging criteria (the “Judging Criteriaâ€_): _1) Results of the YouTube user vote (25%); _2) Relevance to Contest theme and Malibu brand (25%); _3) Originality and creativity (25%); and _4) Celebrity judge input (25%). _The Finalist with the highest score will be deemed the potential Grand Prize winner. In the event of a tie in the Final _Judging round, the Finalist with the highest score for "originality" will be selected as the potential Grand Prize _winner. _Judging Criteria #1 Results of YouTube users voteâ€_, will determine the top ten (10) Contest entries ("Finalists"). _Finalists will be notified on or about June 30, 2007 and will be required to execute and return, within two (2) days of _issuance of notification, an affidavit of eligibility, release of liability, release of any third party displayed in the _Submission and (where legal) publicity release (hereinafter "Release Documents"). If notification documents are _returned as nonÂ_deliverable, if a potential Finalist is found to be ineligible or not in compliance with these Official _Rules, does not respond within the time period specified or cannot accept the terms and conditions of being a Finalist, _the potential Finalist will be disqualified from the Grand Prize winner selection process, where lawful.”

      __this basically means, "we're going to pick the winner, if for any reason the winner we pick isn't eligible, we'll pick a new winner from the 'finalist' pool" - that's why people are pissed, they don't understand that the winner was never going to be picked from YOutube votes to begin with. But please, don’t try to explain this to them.

      __And for the record, using Youtube votes to pick the winner of any of those contests are lame, there are people that spend their life on their and have a virtual army of people that will vote for whatever piece of crap they in point is the originator of this whole thing, she has something like 2,100+ subscribers to her horrible videos (her video is so bad that had her video won I would have thought the fix was in) and she can command them to vote "up" her video and vote "down" any decent video. sorry for the long rant, but I want people to know that not everybody on youtube is a crazy no-talent.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        lucky8ent, 28 Jun 2007 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re: Here is a differing point of view

        ^^^^^I wanted to make the above rant clear (I forgot to put in my name)- I'm this guy:

        I took all of my points why the contest wasn't rigged down off of my video, if anyone really cares, I will respond to emails with my points, sufice to say, I obviously think I'm right and everybody else is wrong...ha.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jun 2007 @ 3:19pm

    The same exact thing happened with the competition, they had all of the prestigious directors lined up to review the commercials and the winner was effectively announced before the contest was over. However this was for firefox, but non-the-less it still sucks when your content doesn't even get posted on the list under submissions. And then they closed down comments because so many people were posting negative things that they couldn't handle to mod work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    William, 27 Jun 2007 @ 3:19pm

    $25,000 or a banana grove

    If i won i would totally take the Bananas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GoblinJuice, 27 Jun 2007 @ 4:02pm


    A banana grove? Are you kidding me?! lmao! Reminds me of Bart's elephant. =)

    Oh, yeah, the topic.... Most "user-generated content" blows chimp. And, yeah, like someone else said... if the losers have the time to actually make the ads in the first place, you can bet your ass they have the time to bitch and moan when they don't win. Welcome to - ooh, aah - Web 2.0!

    Another point that may be missed is that, well, not everyone agrees on who the "winner" of such contents should be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PhysicsGuy, 27 Jun 2007 @ 5:37pm

    slow news day? this has less to do with user generated content and more to do with people not being able to accept the fact that they lost. the internet gave us the 9/11 conspiracy theories; this kind of stuff is to be expected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tarky7, 27 Jun 2007 @ 7:59pm


    Unlike most of the other people posting here, I think this raises an important issue. That 'user based' content, blogs being created by advertisers and companies designed to capitalize on real world consumer based feedback being a two way street.

    If you are going to wade into this realm, you had better be prepared to act upon the feedback, to incorporate the two way forum into decisions and treat the participation from the online world with equal or more weight than marketing companies that came up with the 'blog', user based' solution in the first place.

    To 'betray' the trust and confidence of the users will be how it this interaction is seen by the online community before anything else, and in that respect is where the primary issue exists.

    In the end, 'the perception of reality' has greater weight in the 'live' interactive world than any 'true' reality on the client side.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MICHELLE, 27 Jun 2007 @ 9:29pm


    In some versions of the rules, YouTube viewers would help select the ten finalists before final judging. Promising the YouTube community something and then taking it away, especially when a $25,000 cash prize is on the line, is not what we call a good PR move. Once the winner was announced message boards and comment sections (many of which Malibu has taken down) erupted with YouTubers crying foul. This conspiracy video was posted by an angry entrant suggesting that the winning video was made by the Malibu PR company.
    get your story strait!RUM CONTEST GOT WINNER WHILE VOTING STILL ACTIVE! thank you MICHELLE CEO newbievids .com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 28 Jun 2007 @ 5:49am

    This reminds me of ..

    .. that one contest that Chevy ran for the Tahoe commercials.
    Aside from the fact that it really is a far larger than necessary vehicle and is a waste of space, many people entered submissions that bashed it for being a gas guzzler and killing the environment.
    One in particular sticks out in my mind where the user made a video (these were using only the video clips Chevy released too) where it started out on a glacier, then in a rain forest area, and ending in a desert with the words "Going, going, gone" scrolling by one per mini clip.
    There was another talking about screw the environment, just think of yourself, in words nowhere near as nice as I used here.

    But yah, that is what this article reminds me of.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), 28 Jun 2007 @ 7:08am

    My thoughts

    It is obvious from the expose video that that video maker definitely should never try to make a video again let alone be among the top 10 entries. Worst online video ever! The video proves nothing. Just a bunch of blurry crap and terrible graphics. Should get some better proof.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sea Man, 28 Jun 2007 @ 7:46am

    youtube comments

    It's funny that I posted a comment to the whiney loser telling her how she really lost cuz her vid REALLY sucked bad and now it's gone. I also posted a comment to the supposed conclusive evidence video telling them that their vid was innacurate and that one is gone to. I smell a conspiracy!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    newbievids, 28 Jun 2007 @ 3:07pm

    RUM CONTEST RIP OFF lawyers please respond! we wan

    RUM CONTEST RIP OFF lawyers please respond! we want justice

    Top 10 were supposed to be announced than a second round of voting according to the rules.

    1 guy with a crappy movie won 25 tho.
    The other finalist get a spot on MALIBU Page!

    Congratulations! You were identified as one of the Finalists in the "How Do You Banana Malibu?" Contest (the "Contest") sponsored by Pernod Ricard USA, LLC. As a Finalist, you are entitled to have your submission featured on the Malibu Brand Channel Page.

    We realize that you put time, care and attention in creating your submission, and we would like the opportunity to be able to highlight your hard work. In order to be featured, you must provide a photocopy of your driver's license or other official picture identification.
    (even tho we picked u after we picked the winner and broke our rules & never ha top 10)

    Please return documents by June 30, 2007. You may fax them to 212.XXX.XXXX or you can mail them to:
    (beware of the PR group)

    The Thomas Collective
    Attn: How Do You Banana Malibu?(we screw up)
    37 West 28 Street
    Floor 12

    lawyers please respond! we want justice! email me! there is a lot of us wanting to take action! we got
    lied to in the rules of contest! cotact a.s.a.p

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    m, 29 Jun 2007 @ 3:51am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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