In the VCK blog post prior to this one, one of our regular community contributors and good friend Danny Winn, responded to a comment from Gerard Babitts. Gerard is a representative from the Aflac company. Gerard was defending the merits of the company’s recent foray into the video contest genre. Gerard’s job description (I cut and pasted this):
Manage B2C & B2B New Media Operations with a focus on
Social Media, Social Business, and Digital Marketing, Brand-
ing, and Communications Strategy and Implementation.
On a first name basis with the Aflac Duck.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with Aflac executing a social media push under the guise of a video contest, but trying to sell it on the VCK suggests a lack of understanding of our community and our emerging arm of the advertising world. Gerard visited the blog suggesting that, although the Aflac contest walked like a duck, quacked like a duck and looked like a duck, that it wasn’t really a duck. Sorry, this one was too easy.
PHILOSOPHY of 72/52: Life is short
According to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy of a human is about 72 years. For each one of those years we get 52 Saturdays. That’s your life pal. 72 years and 52 Saturdays per. It should give you pause for thought. Your life is a finite number of Saturdays and then…poof. . . . . . . . .
I used to teach Wedding Photography for Adult Ed and my students would regularly ask how much they should charge to shoot a wedding. I would put it to them. “How important is your life?“, “Because every time you spend a Saturday shooting a wedding on the cheap, you are spending a substantial part of your life in the process”. The next time a video contest asks to spend 4 or 5 of our Saturdays campaigning for views/votes with their brand as the beneficiary…..we better think 72/52.
I wonder how Gerard spends his Saturdays. Like Gerard, most of us have full time jobs. It is our precious Saturdays we consume, producing content for these video contests, chasing dreams of eventually becoming legitimate advertising creatives. To also spend as many or more Saturdays begging people to watch our video is just pathetic if we respect our art. I wonder how many amateur video (or other non-video) contests Gerard entered last year. I wonder if he would be caught dead spamming his personal email contacts for ‘views and votes’ from his friends, family and acquaintances, and for a branding social media push for a company other than his own. Gerard knows the power of real people’s social media circles. He knows the staying power of an email sent from a friend/acquaintance as opposed to one sent by Aflac itself. He knows it is illegal for a corporation to spam people unsolicited, unless of course the video contestants do it for them. I get it. It’s effective branding.
Ultimately however, I don’t think Gerard understood what the VCK is all about. If he did, he wouldn’t have come here with the AmWay pitch. Here at the VCK, we have seen far too many contests to be fooled by an obvious time waster like this one. I don’t blame him for trying. Hey, it’s his job to increase contest interest. He gets paid to do it. But he came to the playground on his own volition. It’s why I don’t feel too badly about taking both of his ankles out simultaneously with the oversize VCK dodge ball.
Should Aflac one day test the freelance creative waters in a legitimate way (ala Doritos, GoDaddy, Skinit, etc.), we’ll gladly surrender some 72 /52 to produce on spec.. And when we do, Aflac will receive tons of high quality creative for free. Until then, I hope Gerard understands why we don’t buy the cherry coating of the waddling and quacking going on over at Aflac.
. . . . . . .
Now here’s a little video I thought was funny as heck. For anyone familiar with the Mr. Bean character, it’s him in the space suit. This guys Saturdays are really numbered LOL.