Inspired by March Madness, the companies behind the frozen food and men’s care products are asking fans to vote on branded video content.
Frozen sandwich brand Hot Pockets is teaming up with what it calls four of YouTube's most popular personalities to launch the Hot Pockets Sandwich Showdown, a bracket-style music video competition in honor of March Madness.
According to Hot Pockets, each YouTube "team" will go head-to-head as they sing about their preference for Hot Pockets' meat or crust.
Web-based comedy duo Smosh and video-game-loving sketch comedy troupe The Warp Zone are squaring off to win the chance to represent #TeamMeat while self-proclaimed "actress/artist/super nerd" Brittani Louise Taylor and "actress/host/writer/singer/lover of the internets" Taryn Southern are duking it out to represent #TeamCrust.
As of March 21, Smosh's Meat v. Crust Rap Battle had 87 percent of the vote to the Warp Zone's 13 percent and Taylor was narrowly beating Southern by a razor-thin 51 to 49 percent margin on the #TeamCrust side.
The video with the most votes from each team will be selected to represent their side in the final round. Semifinal voting ends on March 31, per the website.
Fans can visit the Sandwich Showdown site to watch the videos and cast their votes. According to the site, fans who vote receive coupons.
"We love engaging with our fans online and know they will really enjoy this unique showdown where they can rally around their favorite competitors, so we can't wait to see who they decide as the winners of this lyrical battle," says Hot Pockets brand manager Bob Bryan in a statement.
A Hot Pockets rep was not available for comment.
Hot Pockets has 1.3 million likes and has 4,000 followers.
Hot Pockets says it teamed up with media company Defy Media for the initiative. According to a press release, Defy Media "owns and operates top ranking brands on the web and YouTube, including Smosh and The Warp Zone."
Hot Pockets is a Nestle brand.
In another bracket-style challenge, Degree Men deodorant, which says it has the Official Locker Room Products of NCAA Championships, has launched Clash of the Underdogs, a "series of brackets that place history's favorite March Madness underdog victories against each other, and give fans the chance to vote for the greatest of all time."
Beginning March 17, fans can visit the Degree Basketball website to vote for their favorite underdog moments including 1985 Villanova versus 2013 Florida Gulf Coast and 1983 NC State versus 2006 George Mason.
The challenge includes three rounds.
In addition, Degree Men says basketball star Stephen Curry is on a mission to "inspire others to push themselves to Do:More and Improve no matter their passion" in a short film series on Degree Men's YouTube page. Directed by Grammy winner John Legend, the videos showcase how Curry "pushes himself to Do:More off the court in order to Improve on the court," the brand says.
As of March 21, the series includes five videos. The most popular has 115,000 views. It was posted February 12.
Degree Men has 866,000 likes; @DegreeMen has 18,000 followers.
Degree is a Unilever brand.
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In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's 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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