FreeCreditScore.com has launched Make a Better Commercial Than We Did, a contest that asks entrants to create an original ending to an existing TV ad that promotes the site's Score Planner, an online financial tool that helps consumers understand the impact of their actions on their credit scores.
The contest is scheduled to run through March 28.
FreeCreditScore.com has created four of its own endings for the commercial, which features a young couple seated on a couch, playing around with the Score Planner's actual sliders, as well as a fictional third slider that makes wild and crazy things happen. FreeCreditScore.com's endings include: Bret Michaels singing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," a fancy bear man critiquing the couple's decor, the sudden ability to speak Mongolian, and the arrival of a giant molcajete of guacamole and a mariachi band.
"What we saw from that was a lot of feedback socially - people telling us, 'You should do this...' or 'How about if you do something else,'" says Ken Chaplin, senior vice president of marketing for FreeCreditScore.com. "So we took it to the next level with [Make a Better Commercial Than We Did, asking]...'If you had a mystery slider, what would it do?'"
Entrants can either film their choice or submit an ending in narrative form.
Users who opt to film their entry can upload a video or use their webcam to record on the contest site. If they choose the latter, a screen appears with the couple on the couch facing whatever the entrant is filming. The video must record for at least 10 seconds. From there, entrants can adjust the picture, pick one of 25 reactions from the couple on the couch - like, "Is that your mom?" or "Another pet video?" - preview, and submit.
"The whole process takes a minute. We're seeing tremendous uptake because of its simplicity," Chaplin says.
FreeCreditScore.com says it has roughly 1,500 qualified video submissions to date.
Previous weekly winners - Picnic Basket of Doom and Mini Invasion - appear on the website.
The top-judged video entry will earn a grand prize of $25,000.
Suggestions can also be submitted via an online form, as well as by email, tweet, text message, voicemail, fax, and U.S. mail. FreeCreditScore.com says these participants are eligible for additional prizes "reflective of the commercials' quirky mystery slider endings" like a Bret Michaels-inscribed fax machine and a porcelain poodle.
The narrative entries will be judged weekly with a $2,000 prize awarded to the top pick each week. In addition, these weekly winners may have their ideas brought to life by Rhett and Link, a comedy duo who make Internet videos and own a video production company.
Judges include FreeCreditScore.com's creative team, its agency The Martin Agency, and Rhett and Link.
Since it launched on February 19, Chaplin says FreeCreditScore.com has had thousands of written entries. However, not all are fit for prime time for various reasons - he says, "Some are a little too creative" and/or incorporate trademarked elements. About 1,200 text entries have been cleared and shared on the website.
FreeCreditScore.com's target audience is adults 25 to 54 who are involved in improving their financial health and protecting what they have, Chaplin says.
To promote the campaign, FreeCreditScore.com is running additional ads with the couple who is interrupted with the message, "Got a better way to end this commercial...?" as well as a digital campaign across sites like The Huffington Post. That includes sponsored stories, as well as targeted display and rich media advertising.
In addition, FreeCreditScore.com is using the hashtag #bestcommercial on Twitter, although tweets also appear for brands like State Farm, AT&T, and Ram using the same hashtag.
FreeCreditScore.com is part of a family of online consumer credit reporting sites belonging to ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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