April 28, 2006 2:38 PM PDT

Public's creative muscle lifts Mozilla

Related Stories

GM slow to react to nasty ads

April 3, 2006

GM SUV spoofed by environmentalists

March 31, 2006
When up against Microsoft and AOL, one has to be creative.

That's what Mozilla tried earlier this year by holding a filmmaking contest to promote its Firefox Web browser.

The "Firefox Flicks" competition--which judged participants on production values, creativity, script or screenplay, choice of soundtrack or jingle, and the use of the Firefox logo--received more than 280 submissions.

Click here to Play

Video: And the Firefox film winners are...
Mozilla picks five best promotions

Mozilla announced the winner Friday: a short called "Daredevil," produced by Pete Macomber of Venice, Calif. The film tells the story of Ella Hubley, a 14-year-old female surfer and self-described daredevil. "My other browser is a surfboard," reads the text following shots of Hubley skateboarding to the beach.

Mozilla has in the past chosen a grassroots approach to marketing Firefox, a rival to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and AOL's Navigator browsers. In November 2004, for example, Firefox enthusiasts designed and underwrote a two-page ad that appeared in The New York Times.

The filmmaking competition is just the latest example of tech companies trying to raise a brand's profile by letting fans drive marketing campaigns, a strategy that's been juiced up by the Internet.

Click here to Play

Video: Mozilla gets PR help from community
Grassroots marketing through Firefox flicks

Corporate America has held such contests for decades--according to advertising experts, they not only foster brand awareness with contestants and provide executives with insight into how a product is perceived, they also help marketing types come up with new ideas.

The Internet, though, is adding a new twist. User-generated commercials can catch fire online and spread rapidly over the Web as friends pass the spots to one another--a phenomenon known as "viral marketing."

And the benefits can work both ways, at least according to Macomber. The 33-year-old is trying to break into feature-film directing and says his "Daredevil" short will make a nice calling card and provide some exposure--the film, and other contest entries, will be incorporated into Mozilla's 2006 marketing activities. First prize also includes a $5,000 gift certificate to a shop that sells professional cameras and filmmaking equipment.

"I found out about the contest from the Mozilla site," said Macomber. "The Web is how I get the latest info on filmmaking."

But tapping consumers for advertising ideas doesn't always go as planned. Last month, General Motors launched a contest to see which member of the public could craft the best commercial for the Chevy Tahoe, a sports utility vehicle. At ChevyApprentice.com, visitors could choose from a range of soundtracks and video clips of the Tahoe traveling through different terrains. Contest officials also allowed entrants to write their own text. Many people used the opportunity to knock "gas guzzling" SUVs, the company and the war in Iraq.

See more CNET content tagged:
filmmaking, contest, Mozilla Corp., Firefox, Netscape Navigator

2 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Winner not that great, plus the video format?!
I thought the winner was average at best (and as many people have pointed out, she has a skateboard, not a surfboard, so "My other browser is a surfboard" is a nonsense statement!), but what's equally annoying is the video format that the contest uses. Yes, it's Quicktime, which has *no* official Linux support (and no Quicktime plugin for Linux Firefox either!). This is one thing Google Video got right and the Mozilla folks didn't...
Posted by rklrkl (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Winner not that great, plus the video format?!
I thought the winner was average at best (and as many people have pointed out, she has a skateboard, not a surfboard, so "My other browser is a surfboard" is a nonsense statement!), but what's equally annoying is the video format that the contest uses. Yes, it's Quicktime, which has *no* official Linux support (and no Quicktime plugin for Linux Firefox either!). This is one thing Google Video got right and the Mozilla folks didn't...
Posted by rklrkl (143 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.