Dobson, 29, was the winner of the Heinz "Top This" TV Challenge, which invited consumers to produce homemade Heinz commercials and then upload them for voting onto YouTube for a chance to win $57,000 and national exposure.
Titled "Heinz: The Kissable Ketchup," Dodson's uber-traditional 30-second spot features his stepson receiving a kiss on the cheek from a girl after giving her what looks like the last bit of the Heinz ketchup.
The four runner-up ads were scheduled to be aired during this morning's "Today" show on NBC. Each of these runners-up got $5,700.
Thousands of consumers submitted home-produced H.J. Heinz commercials on YouTube--8,000 or so, according to agency partner Smith Brothers Advertising, while only 4,000 made the cut for the competition.
The latest in a number of campaigns that have arisen to take advantage of the tremendous popularity of YouTube and consumer-generated media (CGM), Heinz added the additional incentive of the $57,000 cash prize--a take on the "57 Varieties" in Heinz's slogan. In addition to the large cash prize, other factors helping the contest do so well included consumers' affinity for the Heinz brand, and their growing fluency in digital production and distribution.
In stark contrast to the Heinz promotion, a recent make-your-own-commercial contest sponsored by Malibu Caribbean Rum--which offered a $25,000 prize--drew just 270 entries, only 84 of which qualified to be posted on YouTube.
Then there was the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" ad contest, which received just over 1,000 submissions--two of which were aired on this year's Super Bowl. The slew of other brands to have tested CGM contests include Pepsi, Jeep, Dove, Sprint, and Converse.
The Heinz campaign included packaging and in-store promotional tie-ins, as well as a full on- and offline advertising schedule. Prominent messaging on millions of Heinz ketchup bottles drove consumers online with phrases like "Starving for the Spotlight?" and "Hungry for Fame?"