Panasonic Debuts YouTube Video Fest

NEW YORK Panasonic is the latest advertiser to run a promotion on popular video-sharing service

The four-week contest asks YouTube users to submit and rate videos in a “Panasonic Online Video Fest.” The videos are to be original live-action or animated creations of five minutes or less. Each week Panasonic will identify five nominees for the funniest submitted videos, with one entry chosen to be a finalist.

Panasonic will award prizes to makers of the four weekly finalist videos, including a first prize of a plasma high-definition TV and digital camera, worth about $5,000. The electronics company is also giving out prizes for users who rate the videos by joining the contest’s group on YouTube, choosing the most creative review each week.

Panasonic is promoting the contest through a text ad on YouTube’s front page. The contest itself is run on a Panasonic Web site,

New York agency Reindeer Company and Panasonic public relations firm Lime created the promotion.

Panasonic is the first non-entertainment company to run a promotion with YouTube. Record labels and entertainment companies like E! have partnered with the site for video contests.

YouTube is the most popular video site online, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. The site has moved cautiously with advertising, relying mostly on text links and some ad network graphical ads.