72 / 52 …Life is short

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.


6 responses to “72 / 52 …Life is short

  1. Very well said again Jared, and thanks for the name drop, hehe.

    Your point about spamming your friends and accquaintences through personal social networking sites hits the nail on the head. Hey Gerard, what would be so important to you that you would be willing to bug the crap out of all your friends and accquaintences on a daily basis?

    Announcing a new video once is getting the word out, more than once is spamming, and to compete with somebody that has 50,000 to 100,000 or more subs or friends, it would take a daily spamming and you’d still fail. When I was new to online contests I tried this and I know Jared did to. It didn’t work and it pissed off my friends.

    From here on out I will officially be calling these types of contests “SSC’s” which stands for “Surrogate Spamming Contests”, SNC’s just sounds too benign at this point.

    Gerard, think about this:
    Jared’s video’s as well as many other creatives on Youtube are top TV ready quality, not only in look, sound & acting, but more importantly content, plus he’s won a ton of the online video contests from major brands because of this quality. Yet he only has around 2500/3000 subs/friends on YT. Why is this?

    Well, in most cases the YT sites that have 100,000 or more subs/friends aquired them not from top quality content but usually because they uploaded a video of some idiot shooting a bottlerocket up his butt, or a dork skateboarding off the roof and breaking his ass. People sub at a high rate to such stuff, don’t ask me why.

    My point is that most of the high numbered YT sites don’t have all those subs because of quality well produced videos, they have them because they contain a lot of people saying or doing controvercial and idiotic things. That’s why you will surely get a large amount of crappy produced stupid videos from people with thousands of Subs/Friends.

    Sorry so long;)

    • Gerard, here’s some perspective for you!

      The winners of last years Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” Comercial contest was the Herbert Brothers with their “Free Dotitos” spot (my all time favorite).

      They have 69 subscribers on their Youtubes site, that’s right, 69 subscribers as of today.

      They wouldnt stand a chance in your sub par contest.

    • Hey Danny,
      I think the issue lost here on most brands and possibly Gerard, is the backlash to the brand from all of the losers who come up dry after dedicating hundreds of hours pushing the brand message.

      As in most things in life, there is a re-action to every action. That you can post a comment with such passion Danny is part of the evidence. I think that this phenomena needs to be factored into the equation as this type of branding evolves and becomes more common place. When a contest concludes, the losing contestants have the reciprocal potential to spread ill-will to the same email lists if they feel used by the program/brand.
      The VCK

      BTW-I only have about 1,400 subscribers on YT. I wish I had 3K-4K. But your point was well made.

  2. Oh man. Great Bean clip! I love that guy!

  3. Completely agree!

    I don’t even bother with contests if they’re based solely on votes.

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