Marketing Pilgrim's Reputation Channel

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When User Generated Video Contests Backfire

One of the hottest marketing trends of late is to get your customers to create your next ad campaign for you. It worked for Doritos and their Super Bowl ad contest, but sometimes it can backfire, as Chevy can attest to.

Malibu Caribbean Rum is the latest big brand to get its reputation slightly singed when their YouTube video contest backfired. Malibu asked for video entries, offered a $25k prize and even had Efren Ramirez of “Napoleon Dynamite” help with the judging.

Unfortunately, when the winner was declared, some entrants cried fowl, suggesting that contest was rigged.

One YouTube user even made a six-minute conspiracy theory video that compared images from a professional Malibu commercial promoting the contest with the winner?s video, saying in part: ?Wow, the same nose!? The same guy? You be the judge!?

?It just looks like, wow, they rigged the contest,? said Debbie Lusignan, 35, of Adams, Mass. ?I am furious. I spent 60 hours on this freaking contest.?

The winner and Malibu both deny any conspiracy, but as Techdirt points out, perception is often reality and so whether rigged or not, a question mark will forever hang of the legitimacy of the contest.

Still, what is it they say about “all publicity is good publicity?” ;-)


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