July 15, 2008

You and Europe: Featured Contest

Win a trip for 2 to the European country of your choice! All you have to do is make a video and upload it at to enter and win.

Please tell us a little about your contest and why it was created.

We are representing the European Travel Commission, which is, which are the thirty member countries. We do different marketing things whether it’s advertising or a newsletter or something else. One of these things is online advertising which we’ve done previously.

For the campaign itself, of “You and Europe”, to kind of push the “You and Europe” theme further, we came up with this video contest. We worked with Compulsive Traveler before on other projects for PR. They filmed with a couple other clients. The contest is a great way to draw people in because we’ve had other sweepstakes previously in the past few years, and it’s just something a little different. With video logs, blogging, and other things like that, which are bringing more people online, it makes sense to make things more interactive. The contest appeals to people who have either been to Europe or are going there because it runs through the end of September. It doesn’t have to be great; it can be shot on a cell phone, or a digital camera, or something like that. It just should be something that tells your story of Europe.

Has your company or Visit Europe tried user-generated advertising in the past? What was the response?

We’ve done some advertising before with Visit Europe but we haven’t done a lot online because of budget reasons. Obviously with things like that there are some budget restraints. This is the biggest online campaign we’ve done in a while for them,

Have you seen other contests that have reached out to consumers and amateurs? What are your thoughts on these contests? How does yours differ?

I think in the last year or so we’ve seen a lot of people doing more things online. We did something else that had an online component but it didn’t do anything with video. With the whole craze in Youtube and such it now makes a lot more sense. There were a few contests that we’ve seen before. We saw Travel Channel did one with Anthony Bourdain which I heard didn’t go well. I think Conde Nast Traveler did another travel video contest last year or the year before, so that helps kind of figure out how we need to format it, what works and what doesn’t.

How are you attracting attention for your contest and getting the word out to potential entrants?

Right now, since it runs through the end of September, we are still in a process. I believe we are going to be doing online advertising but that hasn’t started yet because we are waiting for our sponsors to come on board. We don’t want to draw people to the website even more if their logo isn’t up there yet, but that should be all figured out in a week or two.

We also have the contest under the Visit Europe homepage. There is also a consumer newsletter that goes out to 200,000 every month and it’s featured there as well. There is also a PR component of it. It was picked up by USA Today so it was on their website. It was picked up on a bunch of other places including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, St. Petersburg Times, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Seattle Sun Times, and Yahoo Travel.

What sort of response do you hope to have from the contest?

We’re still trying to figure that out. I mean, we don’t necessarily only want people who upload videos, we want people who are interested in seeing those videos. If they’re looking for ideas to travel or they’re interested in what the people in videos are doing. It’s more of a reason to get traffic to the site. Obviously we want to get people to upload videos but obviously not everyone has a video of Europe,

Who are you hoping will participate in your contest?

For the contest we are hoping tourists. But let’s say you do video for a living and you go to Europe on vacation; that would be great. We’re not specifying that you can’t be professional.

How is the winner of the contest decided?

The winner is decided by a judging panel. We have on the ETC an executive committee and I believe they are judging it. We are going to narrow it down to twenty or thirty of the best ones and they are going to judge from there. The judges will pick winners based on the following: originality, creativity, suitability for advertising, and production quality.

What do you think the winning entry will say about your message and brand?

We want the video to be your story of Europe, from your point of view. What was your point of view for? What did you really enjoy? Some examples can be found on our site such as a guy dressed up as Mel Gibson from Braveheart and the pigeons in Venice.

How will you measure the success of the contest? Total number of videos or the number of people that come to your site?

I think it’s a little of both. We want videos uploaded but we want people just to watch the videos as well.

Do you think the European Travel Commission will continue to use the user-generated platform? Or is this a one-shot deal?

It all depends; we like to do something different every year for Visit Europe. But if this is a great success, I think we will definitely continue it.