Intuit launched a new contest with a major grand prize: a 30-second ad during the 2014 Super Bowl. All told, entrants will be eligible for $25 million worth of prizes, including individual $1,000 grants and discounted Intuit products. The Super Bowl ad alone is worth about $10 million of the total.
Intuit is offering the winner of this contest, named Small Business Big Game, a significant boost to their business via a marketing channel reserved for some of the world's biggest brands.
This promotion isn't a completely novel idea. In 1998 and 1999 Mail Boxes Etc. launched a similar contest during the Super Bowls, and awarded ad space to Pocket Pump and Jeremy's MicroBatch Ice Creams.
Frito-Lay has also played in this
space six years in a row, with its Crash the Super Bowl
contest that offered consumers an opportunity to direct a Doritos ad in
exchange for a few million dollars. While cool in its own right, this campaign was much more self-serving for Frito-Lay than the Intuit campaign that will benefit other companies as well.
Businesses enter the Small Business Big Gameby submitting their company stories for online voting from the public. Companies applying must have 50 or fewer employees and be prepared to compete in two rounds of story-telling via text and video. Intuit employees will then narrow the top 20 to a final four, which will receive TV advertising for their business. The public will select the ultimate winner of the Super Bowl time, which Intuit said it will buy as a national spot directly from Fox.
Only time will tell whether the winning small business will be able to leverage its Super Bowl presence into mega growth like startup GoDaddy.com has done or if it will be a joke around the globe like former company, Pets.com was when it folded just months after its sock puppet ads ran in the 2000 Super Bowl.
What’s clear is that Intuit’s contest is a brilliant advertising tool for Intuit, placing its name right in front of the small-business owners it targets every day.