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Epic Mix Ads: The Dark Side of Content Generation Contests

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A few months ago I claimed that if you need rock awesome content, a simple contest might be just what you’re looking for. I even cited the Epic Mix ad contest as an example of how Vail Resorts was using this tactic. With the contest long over and the winners announced, I finally remembered to revisit this topic because that one contest showed exactly why you SHOULDN’T hold this type of contest.

That’s not to say the folks that entered didn’t put some effort into it, I’m sure they did, but the just didn’t have the skills and talent I’m sure the marketing crew behind the contest were hoping for. Created mostly in Windows Movie Maker and iMovie, Vail Resorts paid $10,000 for 10 very amateur videos. That’s the gamble. Either pay out your ears to attract professional talent (I honestly thought $10k would do it) or run the risk of getting a bunch of “homemade” entries.

Where did things go wrong? I don’t know. Perhaps in promotion. Canyons spent piles of cash on print ads to push their “How do you mountain?” campaign. Perhaps by inviting certain groups to participate like Boreal does they could have snagged more professional entries.

Either way, I want to stop here so you can take a look at both the winner, as well as a few others that made the cut and do some analysis for yourself.

Note: In Ad #7’s defense, they did show some nice video work, but not enough to grab enough votes to win.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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