Porsche Show Inside Saab’s Future With ‘Thrilling Contradictions’ Ad Contest

[hr] [dropcap]Porsche[/dropcap] is the undoubted leader in social media amongst the car companies that I keep an eye on. That list is fairly short, by the way, but Porsche are at the top of it with a big gap to whoever might be considered in second place.

I get updates about new videos from Porsche on Youtube nearly every day. They must be spending heaps of money on this. 50% of the time I just flick them straight to the trash but this morning I was compelled to watch their latest upload: “Fire and Ice”.

Before I show you that video, old Saabs United readers might recall an unofficial advertising competition I ran on Saabs United back in 2010. It was the biggest competition I ever ran with a $500 cash prize plus other sponsors product. The competition attracted over 500 entries.

Contestants had to design their own print advertisement for Saab and the quality of submissions was – mostly – very high. Here are the top three as voted by the readership of SU at the time:





That’s pretty good for a bunch of fans, only some of whom had any computer graphics skills.

This idea of crowd-sourcing promotional content and building enthusiasm was one that I would have liked to take further on Inside Saab (the website I ran for Saab Automobile in 2011). I would have loved to extend it beyond just print ads, though. The natural progression for a contest like that would have been to video.

There are more and more amateur filmmakers nowadays and the technology to produce brilliant visuals only gets cheaper and more accessible. That means more and more people have a chance to show their vision, creativity and capability. The right company, doing it the right way, has a great opportunity to harness that.

Porsche didn’t exactly crowd-source with the ‘Thrilling Contradictions’ competition:

In an effort to bring-to-life the Panamera motto of “Thrilling Contradictions,” Porsche challenged 10 emerging filmmakers to create 60 second mini films with their interpretation of the tagline. As a reward for all their hard work and creativity the filmmakers were awarded a trip to the Chicago International Film Festival and had their films aired in Spotlight Cinema Networks movie theaters around the US. Blue Engine worked with Porsche and Spotlight to fulfill the contest.

Here’s the winner of the competition. It’s called Fire and Ice.

Porsche maximised their return and minimised the time spent sorting through entries by selecting their own filmmakers to participate in the competition.

If they’d opened it up to the public, however, I’m sure YouTube would have been flooded with ‘Thrilling Contradictions’ videos (Porsche has millions of Facebook fans, remember, many of whom are very enthusiastic owners). There would have been some junk amongst them but the buzz they could have generated with this would have been interesting to see.

There’s always a chance that crowd-sourced competitions can go wrong. Who can forget GM’s effort where they allowed the public to create their own ads for the Chevy Tahoe using pre-formatted clips and free text insertion?

But there are ways to structure and filter a competition like this. Properly managed, it can produce some amazing stuff and really leverage the creativity of your enthusiast base.

I’d have loved to take Inside Saab to that level. Porsche have done it – to a degree – with the Thrilling Contradictions video competition. I’d love to see a car company do it properly in the future.


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  1. You didn’t???!!

    Where the heck did it go? It was sent. Maybe I should have used a different service but Australia Post is pretty reliable.

    Apologies for that. I can get some more from Matt and send it again. Email me your address and I’ll take care of it, Chris. My apologies.

  2. You’ll find a lot of creatives are staunchly against crowd sourcing, as it devalues the job and undermines the work. A bit like asking you to write for Saab for free – but just think of the exposure! It’s a dangerous game and open to a rather large backlash. If you ask fans that’s a bit different but it couldn’t replace the big picture thinking that you get from a good agency.

    1. I can see where they’re coming from, for sure. There’d have to be a way to get them on board, though. Designing the competition, setting the parameters, etc.

      Delicate balance, but plenty of potential.