‘Block Party’ Goes Viral

NEW YORK Universal Studios hopes to harness the power of consumer-created and distributed video with a push to promote tomorrow’s DVD release of Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.

Universal is hosting a viral contest (www.blockpartycontest.com) that invites users to create their own videos begging Chappelle to visit their neighborhood. Contestants are encouraged to disseminate their videos on their own. The five videos that garner the most views (via YouTube, MySpace, personal blogs or through e-mail) will win prizes.

While viral videos and consumer-generated content are all the rage, advertisers face a difficult task in compiling metrics for their efforts. Universal is using video-sharing service Revver to track video plays and provide the studio with some idea of the campaign’s reach.

Steven Starr, CEO of Los Angeles-based Revver, said viral efforts that involve fans are perfect ways to “engage the audience that’s not just ‘sit back,’ but ‘lean forward.'”

The campaign is not Revver’s first with a major studio. Warner Bros. has launched a slightly different Revver contest (www.kkbbcasting.com/) to promote the DVD release of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a Shane Black murder-mystery. That contest invites fans to create their own versions of movie scenes.

“It’s not just putting a trailer on my MySpace page,” Starr said. “It’s me putting my movie about the movie on my MySpace page. That’s the next level.”