Sprint Seeks Sellouts

NEW YORK Sell out your pets, your family and friends! A YouTube contest launched this week by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners asks consumers to “Sell Out with Sprint” to promote the new Samsung Instinct touch phone.

The effort seeks the “greatest product-placement movie of all time” and offers $20 for the first 1,000 submissions that place the Apple iPhone rival in a home video — and the more obvious the product placement, the better.

“We’re asking you to sell out Hollywood style, letting your integrity go for a cold hard cash,” said Christian Haas, group creative director at the San Francisco-based Omnicom shop.

The contest, which runs through Aug. 1, launched on Monday with a video that opens with a sweet image of a crawling baby girl. “Nothing is more precious than family moments. Except maybe 20 bucks,” explains the booming voiceover. At that point, a hand holding the new phone comes down smack in the middle of the frame. “This summer, turn your loved ones into cash with blatant product placement,” continues the narrator, as images of the phone invade footage of weddings, birthday parties and cuddly puppies at play.

On Sprint’s “The Instinct: the Phone” site, users can find step-by-step instructions on how to add the product to any clip.

“We’re not requiring people to shoot original content. They don’t have to buy the phone. They can take anything on YouTube, go to our site, and add the obnoxious product placement,” explained Haas.

Finalists will be selected by the agency and client and posted on YouTube on Aug. 8. According to the contest rules, the clips will be judged equally on creativity, originality, use of Sprint image in product placement and the overall entertainment value of the submission. Voting by the public ends on Aug. 22.

The contest is part of a larger campaign from the agency that began in May with online teasers showing ironic side-by-side comparisons with the iPhone.

A 60-second cinema spot featuring an interrogation scene sets up the movie theme of the campaign with a trailer-style clip promoting Instinct: The Greatest Product-Placement Movie of All Time, a film that promises “no plot, no romance, just phone.” A 30-second TV commercial spoofing spy movies broke last week.

“It’s all about leveraging the summer movie campaigns and it allows us to talk about the features,” said Haas, explaining the challenge of coming up with an effort to take on the iPhone. “This product is in some ways superior to the iPhone when it comes to the features set. We needed to be able to talk about the features with a sense of humor because the iPhone is one of the most desired products that have come out in a long time. We needed a platform that we could talk about the features without being an infomercial.”