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The internet is probably become the single most important marketing tool in the world.
This is partly because of its global reach and partly because it is so damned cheap to publish whatever message you want through this medium.
Of course there is a problem...
Like any forest containing hundreds of millions of trees, with new ones popping up all the time, being noticed can be all but impossible -- unless you're very clever.
Traditionally, those who wanted to market their products on the Net would simply go to an advertising network (such as Google) and buy some ad-space. As a result, their banners and messages would be plastered all over the Net and they would be charged accordingly.
This works -- but it can be very expensive and, even today, there is still a huge amount of resistance to having one's Net-experience cluttered with "damned ads".
The real smart companies know that there are some far more effective and cheaper ways to promote yourself and your products.
And here's one of them...
Before I show you, I have to ask "how many people have ever watched an online video ad for Lenovo, the Chinese company that purchased IBM's PC division quite some time ago?
I suspect that not many have.
After all, those are the "damned ads" that I spoke of earlier -- the ones that get in the way of the stuff you've really come to see.
But what if Lenovo was smart enough to come up with a scheme that meant that it was actually the advertising that was the content?
Well it's clear that this company (or at least their advertising agency) *do* get the Net.
They're running a competition called "Seize the Night Alternate Ending Challenge" in which video makers are challenged to create alternative endings for a short movie (well advertisement really) promoting the Lenovo brand.
They're plonking down a pretty impressive US$15K first-prize, which means that this is bound to attract a *lot* of entries -- but wait, there's more.
The criteria by which the winner is selected (and thus gets their fingers on that $15K) is the number of times their video is viewed. Whoever gets the most views, wins the competition.
So let's look at just how cunning this is...
You recruit a huge number of would-be winners to add their own ending to your advertisement so you end up with a huge number of "versions" of your advertising out there.
They all then run around like mad, busily promoting their own video to everyone they know -- thus creating huge exposure for these ads - far more than a mere $15K would have purchased if they went to Google and bought some space in the normal fashion.
I am impressed!
And sure enough, this week I was emailed by Shannon Schnittker who has built a bit of NZ into her submission. She's going hell-for-leather trying to rake up as many views as she can and I admire people with this much passion and determination -- so I say: go watch her entry and tell your friends to do likewise.
There's kind of a sweet justice here as well -- after all, by offering to host these videos for free, Google has done itself out of a bunch of advertising revenue that would probably been spent on its normal banners and adwords.
Don't you just love the internet!
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