GoDaddy…so far, so good.

Hey fellow citizens of the Video Contest Kingdom, Godaddy has unveiled it’s finalists bracket. I am pleased with the pickings. We can always second guess the judges and make a case for another dozen or so videos that ‘should have made it’, but that’s only because GoDaddy received tons of great commercials. They chose a very nice mix of content. Though they chose an ample amount of predictable projects (cleavage), they also awarded many creatives who approached the project from a more inclusive demographic angle. I gotta tell you, I am impressed with the field. Fully 50% of the field is a welcome departure from business as usual.

Here are a couple of my favorites.

This spot has it all. 1. An explanation of the product. 2. Great acting. 3. Comedic story line. 4. Great music. 5. Great camera work. 6. Great Casting. 7. Great writing., etc. etc. etc.

Here is another stellar spot.


This video is equally awesome and for different creative reasons. It does everything you need from a branding perspective and is so freaking entertaining. I love the “What if I use twelve?” line. ¬†Hearkening back to the Crash The SuperBowl contest for this year, the first time an all black cast was awarded a finalist slot by Doritos was the judges inclusion of the video submission, House Rules: a commercial featuring some of the very worst attributes of any culture, and using black actors to express it. I was disappointed by House Rules as a choice by Doritos and for a lot of different reasons. You can search the VCK archives of earlier this year to read my review of House Rules.

As different as night is to day, I am NOT disappointed here. I think GoDaddy did a great job of recognizing talent in so many areas of the film making process. Between this spot, Get Online Rap and the rest of the finalists bracket, GoDaddy scored some major creative content. Sorry if I ruffle some feathers in revealing my faves.

If you guess the title of this post suggests I am hesitant to draw any wholesale conclusions about the contest, you are right. I will reserve my final judgement of the contest for the end of the month when GoDaddy airs the top three finalists during the Indianapolis 500. I so hope that GoDaddy rewards these filmmakers for the widely appealing work they did here and that they fight the temptation to go the ‘Leave it to Cleavage‘ route.

My advice to GoDaddy: It’s time to wise up and start appealing to the much wider demographic potentate. Limiting branding exclusively to the boob lovers of the planet is just plain narrow minded. Time to start thinking outside the bra.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed people.

The VCK.

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31 responses to “GoDaddy…so far, so good.

  1. Agreed Jared, They did a great job of picking the finalists. Of course I am disappointed that I’m not one of them, but feel much better about these results than I do the choices of Doritos.

    • Hey Keith,
      Yeah, I know where you’re coming from, but in all objectivity, more than half of them had better (more cinematographic) P.V.’s than mine, and the other half were funnier (better writing). I’m with you. When I get beat by better creative I can ‘man up’ a lot easier.
      The King

  2. I agree, I think Go Mama is really great, I also like online rap, and I DO think high PV’s make a big difference, and these ads had great content with great production values. Good choices, bummed I am not there, but like you said, when u get beat by good spots, it makes it a whole lot easier.

    • Hey Shane,
      I’m with you man. I am not sure how else GoDaddy could have judged the spots. I think GoDaddy was as fair and balanced as they could be. Happy Joel Levinsen is chiding the GoDaddy contest for not choosing more amateurish type submissions…….. He made some ridiculous comparison to his preference for amateur porn over the pro stuff because it’s less slick and hence more sexy…..I don’t see the correlation to branding on a national level. Maybe I’m missing something.
      Anyways, as a result of debating the EPA (Regulations) contest and now the GoDaddy contest, I think Beardy (author of the VideoContestNews blog) and Happy Joel have banned me from their respective blog sites. It’s sad when censorship becomes an alternative to debating an argument. Beardy made the excuse for censorship by saying the straw that broke the camel’s back was my posting of this photo to a comment thread.

      LOL, Some guys just don’t get 2nd Amendment humor.
      The VCK

  3. Well with Joel, bottom line, he doesn’t like the slick spots because he CAN’T make a slick spot, if he could he would, and if he denies that, he is lying.

    • Hey Shane,
      The thing is, I have seen Joel improve his P.V.’s since the days of Klondike. It isn’t like he’s not trying. That is why I think it is a little disingenuous of him to openly denigrate his peers who regularly knock it out of the park. It all comes down to how committed you are to your craft. Sometimes Joel produces stuff that looks like he care’s about lighting and post production and then other times (like his recent TaxSlayer spot) it looks like he just whips out the camera, delivers a few lines and really believes he has created something brands will covet. Here is the link:

      http://www.youtube.com/user/happyjoel#p/u/3/NVGqjNG_Ubo

      Minimally he should have at least moved the tripods and light stands out of camera frame. Most P.V.’s are issues related to attention to detail and discipline. When you don’t even pay enough attention to remove equipment out of frame, it speaks volumes about your willingness to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Normally I wouldn’t call anyone out like this, but when Joel started ragging on his freelancers over at http://www.videocontestnews.com and on his own blog at http://happyjoel.com/ he gave me no choice. It is more than a little short sighted to think every time he sees a highly polished and well crafted video that it must have been created by a huge production company with blank check budgets.

      The VCK

      • Charles Lezette

        Jared, What I Don’t Understand About This Guy Is… He’s Won Many, Many Contest Yes\No? He Should Invest In Some High End Equipment … I Just Don’t Get It, Is It Laziness? He Is Some What Creative, Different… But Creative… You Would Have to Agree !

        • Hey Charles,
          Joel is a talented comedian and actor. I have acknowledged it many times. If he didn’t have skills I wouldn’t be wasting my time here. In fact, his ‘talent‘ goes to the point I am making:

          Joel won the Klondike contest a few years back and netted $100,000.00. The Klondike contest was looking for something quirky and YouTube-ish. Besides being good comedy, Joel nailed the amateurish YouTubeish requirement of the contest and scored big time. I am not picking on him here by calling him YouTubeish. He takes great self-described pride in the fact that he produces amateurish looking content. I strongly assert he is making a career mistake by thinking he will be able to maintain his already diminishing success with this strategy. People are flocking to YouTube at a rate greater than at any other point in it’s history. This flock has it’s own inherent ratio of truly naturally talented people. They are producing exponentially more content today, than the volume at the time Joel experienced his greatest success just a few years ago. In my opinion, what Joel should have done (should still do) is use the Klondike windfall to take 6 months off work (if he has a regular job) and learn more sophisticated techniques in lighting, FCP, motion, etc.. In this way he would enhance his natural talent and stratify himself from the increasing flock of talent, most of whom will refuse to improve themselves in film making knowledge.

          Any regular visitor to the VCK knows I advocate for the freelance creative becoming more educated through the peer review process, tutorials, collaboration, internet resources, etc.. I encourage our community to become more sophisticated…not dumbed down and amateur. If the average brand looks at what Joel is doing and mistakenly thinks he represents the cream of the freelance crop…we are being done no favors.

          I currently see Joel dabbling in Green Screen. Maybe I should call him out for trying to up his Production Values. Heck I know a lot of amateurs who don’t the first thing about G.S.. If Joel is cutting chroma keys in Final Cut Pro, isn’t he treading dangerously close to slick and polished?

          Moving on: Joel continues to think ‘amateur’ should be the style/format of choice for all brands as they award grand prizes in these contests. This reasoning is misguided. He should have seen the writing on the wall last year, when TaxSlayer had to re-shoot his script at a pretty price tag. It was a major favor TaxSlayer handed Joel and also a testimony to his talent that they overlooked his production deficit and chose him despite his submission shortcomings, but it should have been a clear wake-up-call that Joel needed to step up his production game. If that had happened to me I would have, so thanked my lucky stars and heeded the warning. Instead, Joel produces another entry for TaxSlayer in this year’s contest, not even caring to remove production equipment from the frames he was shooting. I guess he figured he was a shoe in because he had won the contest the previous year. He must have reasoned that the rest of us could spend ponderous assets on P.V.s, but that Joel can throw up whatever he wanted because after all, TaxSlayer will foot the bill to re-produce his content again……

          I have to admit, if I had won $100,000.00 in a contest with a particular type of content, I too would probably be difficult to convince I was doing something wrong and should alter my strategy.

          In a way, TaxSlayer doomed themselves this year by not coming right out and saying that they are not in the business of re-producing commercials. They want us to produce them. It is why they run the contest in the first place. Anyone who interpreted last year’s Happy Joel situation as the way to go, do so in error. They pussy footed around the issue by asking for multiple formats and Beta copies etc., which all indicated that they wouldn’t be putting up with ‘amateur’ anymore, but they never just came right out and said it. Too bad, because it contributed heavily to why they had to cancel the contest. They received 18 submissions. Most creatives who bring pro P.V.s to bear, shied away from the overly vague call for creative, which resulted in TaxSlayer not receiving sufficient variety from which to choose an appropriate branding message.

          Another issue: What Joel has to understand is that many people recognize his moxie/schtick/talent for the professional asset it is (like any other production value). Clearly, most creatives don’t have his natural acting/comedic abilities. Many people have to spend time and assets ‘casting’ in order to get a ‘Happy Joel’ in their spot. By regularly using himself as an actor, he is just as guilty as the next guy for trying to be ‘slick’. There are many notable actors who marry their natural talent with poor P.V.s on purpose to ‘appear’ amateurish in hopes of going viral on the internet. Happy Joel is being just as slick as the next pro who produces this type of content. If he were honest, he would admit it. If this is his long term production plan, hey more power to him, but he shouldn’t belittle his peers for using their own assets in the ways they see fit. A bit hypocritical if you ask me.
          The VCK

  4. oh one more thing, i love reading the debates, makes for good reading, I think you and Joel in a documentary going against each other in contests would be classic, ha, ha

    • I love a good debate too Shane. Problem is, they are very keen on squashing dissenting opinion. Censorship is appealing for both Beardy and Joel. I don’t think you will be seeing much more of the VCK over on either of their blogs. Their choice.
      The VCK

  5. but seriously Jared, I don’t know if u ever dabbled in documentary. I did once, I made a feature on ghost hunting http://amzn.com/B002OHE1O8

    I was not entirely happy with the result, but with all this contest stuff it got me thinking that a documentary about the very subject of small creative competing against the big ad agencies. could be quite a story.

    • Hey Shane,
      I have given thought to it, but I think the story of a single person would not be compelling enough content. I think that cameos from different guys like the Herbert Brothers, Joel Levinson, The VCK etc. tied together with a general story of the evolution of the industry might have promise. My concern though, is the target audience may be so narrow to the extent that adequate budgeting of a documentary worthy of the subject matter might make the project financially prohibitive.
      Jared

  6. yeah, well you wouldn’t make a doc to make money thats for sure, but your right, the demo is probably too small

    • No we wouldn’t produce it with the same hopes/goals one would a feature, but ultimately the goal would be to get a cable network to buy it minimally, and I don’t know how many laypeople would give a crap about our freelance plight. LOL.

      I do think it could be very VERY engaging, and probably hugely successful in a cultish way for that small target demographic, so in that respect it is a killer idea Shane.
      The VCK

  7. Jared,

    Good picks. “Go Momma” was my favorite.

    I hope you rethink the idea of doing a documentary. Yes, the initial target audience might be relatively small but that’s the story with most docs. I can see you making a very entertaining/informative doc. You certainly have the contacts to get some interesting interviews and access to some of the commercials (including using some “the making of xxx” footage).

    • Wow….a taters sighting. Good to see you on the blog Carole. RE: The Doc.
      I admit it would be a lot of fun and probably a beneficial filmmaking education, but opportunity costs and family obligations would weigh pretty heavily. What with the four kids, BSA responsibilities, church, shooting ‘real local paying’ work, etc. etc. I don’t know if I could find that much time to work on something with such a small financial chance at breaking even. I already wrote a self-engrandizing feature length screen play about my exploits with Doritos, that I doubt will ever see the light of a projection machine. I think the doc. would have more appeal and feasibility but wow, what an undertaking that would be.
      The VCK

  8. Yeah, money — or the lack of money — determines a lot of what we do. And the time required to make a doc would certainly be a problem. Having said that, I still want to encourage you to do a doc.

    I read your screenplay regarding the Doritos contest and it was entertaining. It could be a small segment of the overall doc about these contests.

    If you get a chance, rent the documentary “Official Rejection.” It’s about a filmmaker’s journey through the film festival circuit. I don’t know if their plan from the beginning was to make a doc about the experience, but they had the forethought to film things as they went along.

    I guess what I’m really encouraging you to do is to film things (an interview here and there; behind the scenes with other contestants when the opportunity presents itself) with the thought that down the road you might do a doc.

    Anyway, best of luck in all you do.
    Carole

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  10. whats really ironic Carole is that my good friend and co-worker Paul Osborne is the director of Official Rejection, so he will be thrilled u saw it, and to answer your question, it wasn’t intended to be a documentary until they started getting rejected from the major festivals then they starting capturing everything. I might write a treatment up for a doc, i may tackle it, not sure, docs are very hard.–_Shane

  11. Wow, those two clips are great and very clever. It was a tough concept, so I’m glad to see at least two producers did so well with it.

    And just think Jared (as if you haven’t already), GoDaddy would probably not have that level of quality without your suggesting they ante up.

    • Hey Matt,
      I think that for $175K and whatever it cost them to administrate (hard to guage since it was done ‘in house’), I would guess they got their money’s worth.
      The VCK

  12. Hey Carole (and everybody),

    Shane alerted me to this whole convo. Wow – first, thank you so much for the props about OFFICIAL REJECTION! As Shane predicted, I am thrilled you saw it.

    If anyone else is interested, its coming to Netflix (finally!). You can save it to your queue now:
    http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/Official_Rejection/70138947?strackid=299a4cf07dadc031_0_srl&strkid=1500600689_0_0&trkid=438381

    The second thing I wanted to say is I think a doc about this whole video contest thing is an AMAZING idea, and would appeal to a broader audience than you might think. It’s got a real “everyman” approach – and additionally, some of the companies who host these commercial contests may be interested in sponsoring a doc like this. Like, giving you grant money to make it. It makes them look good, gets their brand name out into the world, and when this doc is seen it’ll likely up the number of submissions they might otherwise get. Hell – if any of these companies also sponsor major film fests, like Sundance or Tribeca, then this doc could get major placement as well.

    Just my two cents. I highly encourage somebody here to pull the trigger and make this flick.
    P

    • Hey Paul,
      Great of you to stop by the kingdom. I am jotting down the Netflix heads up on my to-do list. Between Carole’s endorsement and the related buzz, I am now committed to watching it. Congrats on getting it through to the NF distribution vehicle.

      Your post was very encouraging with regards to the VidConDoc. The more I think about it, the more I am thinking about getting myself into trouble thereto. I wonder if it wouldn’t warrant a pow-wow over lunch some afternoon. Maybe you Shane and myself.
      The VCK

    • Paul and everyone else,

      Much talk about this doc idea. And since you mention funding I believe this would be an excellent opportunity to plug Kickstarter.com . This might be the answer for funding this Doc. I just successfully funded a music video project I’m doing for a friend of mine and his 13 year old daughter. We only needed a few hundred dollars for this one:

      Alos, check out the project on the site called “disapora”. It is a couple of NYU students who set out to raise $10,000 for a facebook like application. Media picked it up and they received over $170,000 in contributions!!!

  13. That could happen, my friend. Certainly easy enough for me to coordinate with the Shanester, since his editing bay is about fifteen yards from mine.

  14. we are aware of kickstarter actually. I am working on a treatment to see how this thing would be structured, I will stop posting here, so nobody else gets the idea, ha, ha

  15. Jared, Shane, & Paul:

    I really hope you guys get together on the doc. Getting the companies that sponsor these video contest to kick in some money sounds like a great idea.

    Paul, congrats on getting on Netflix.

  16. Loved fingerfighting.com, was my favorite by far!

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