January 10, 2006

Firefox Flicks fast-forwards fans to future fame

Author: Nathan Willis

Can't think of anything worthwhile to shoot with that new video camera Santa left you? If you make a Firefox commercial, you could wind up fending off offers from advertising agencies.

Mozilla Corp. launched a new marketing campaign called Firefox Flicks in conjunction with the recent release of Firefox 1.5. The campaign has two halves, both of which encourage fans of the open source browser to grab a camera, apply their creativity, and make grassroots promotional material.

The first component to the campaign is Firefox Flicks Testimonials, where users can contribute short first-person video messages showing or explaining what they like about Firefox. Contributed videos are added to the testimonial page as they come in, and every week the site administrators award a $50 gift certificate to the best new entry.

Current entries are available at video2.spreadfirefox.com, where visitors can scroll across a map of the globe with pinpoints marking the geographic origin of every submission (and finally making good use of the globe in Firefox's official logo).

All the videos are viewable in the browser via Flash controls, though the contest rules indicate they may be used for other purposes (including mainstream media advertising) in the future. Note that by entering the contest, you are granting Mozilla exclusive property rights over the work.

The Testimonials contest runs until February 21. At the end of the contest, judges will select one video testimonial as grand prize winner and award its creator a $500 gift certificate. At this time there are just over 50 entries available online, ranging from the funny to the informative to the inexplicable. Most have the low-res, talking-head aesthetics of personal webcam cinema.

Not to knock personal webcam cinema, but if you have already invested thousands in equipment, actors, and overseas backers, you may be more interested in the second part of the campaign, the Firefox Flicks Ad Contest. This contest solicits entrants to create 30-second, television-quality commercials promoting Firefox to mainstream consumers. A creative brief and contest rules at the site describe the technical requirements and marketing goals in greater depth.

Unlike the testimonials (where entrants are limited to one testimonial per person), entrants to the Ad Contest may enter as many times as they desire. Entries will be accepted until March 31, at which point a panel of advertising judges will select winners. Three prizes will be awarded, ranging in value from $2,500 to $5,000.

As with the testimonials, all entries become the property of the Mozilla Foundation, and although only three prizes will be awarded, it is possible that more than three commercials will make their way into the final Firefox campaign.

The Firefox Flicks grassroots marketing campaign is the successor to the December 2004 SpreadFirefox print ad campaign, which collected donations from supporters to place a two-page ad in The New York Times to coincide with the release of Firefox 1.0.

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