Hey, what a great idea some clever advertising executive types have come up with! They create a contest in which everyday folks are encouraged to write, create, and submit their own commercials for a chance to win a competition. Grand prize winners will have their ads shown during the biggest television event of the year, the Super Bowl – not bad, right?

What an opportunity this is for aspiring your filmmakers, and there is not even a huge (and obvious) ulterior motive involved! Oh, wait… these types of competitions save companies the time, the cash, and the effort required to create their own commercials, do they? A-HA! (See, we knew there was a catch, we just didn’t figure it out at first. Except that we did.)

If you can look beyond the fact that companies are essentially having other people do their work for them when they launch competitions like the commercial submission contests cropping up around the Super Bowl telecast, you’ll see that these competitions do indeed offer aspiring filmmakers a rare opportunity for a big break. A huge break, in fact: well over 100 million people will be watching Super Bowl XLVIII next year.

We’ve already discussed the perennial “Crash the Super Bowl” contest Frito-Lay puts on for its Doritos brand tortilla chips in another article, but this year they aren’t the only folks playing the commercial contest game. So what are some of the other companies that have created commercial competitions this year, and what’s at stake for the hopeful entrants?

The Intuit Small Business Big Game Contest

Intuit is a big company that is all about small companies. They create software, most of it related to accounting and tax preparation and most of that tailored toward small businesses, many of them even sole proprietorships. We respect that Intuit’s Super Bowl commercial contest mirrors the company’s commitment to supporting and empowering small businesses, especially because they are doing it in two ways.

First, they are giving a lot of money away to small businesses: Intuit has committed to give away more than $20,000 in multiple different dollar amounts (from a hundred to more than a grand) to random entrants, they will be giving three runners-up all expenses paid trips and cash, and they will not only air the winning commercial during the Super Bowl, but they are also giving that winner several thousand dollars.

Second – and here’s why we started off with Intuit’s contest – unlike the competition’s thrown by other companies, this one allows a small businessperson to create an ad highlighting their own business, rather than making a commercial for some multinational corporate juggernaut. Sure, Intuit is going to get plenty of positive press, but so is one very luck small business.

View the leading entries on http://www.smallbusinessbiggame.com

Fox Sports Social Bowl

Unlike the Intuit commercial contest, which is all about small businesses, this “contest” is all about big money. Specifically big money for Fox. The broadcaster has announced a contest tentatively titled the Social Bowl wherein marketing companies can submit thirty second ads which will be voted on by fans via social media (thus the whole “Social Bowl” thing).

The airtime Fox Sports is offering will not be during the Super Bowl itself, though: rather it will be run during the pregame show, likely around 5 PM Eastern Time. Spots during that timeframe don’t cost the $4 million of a “real” Super Bowl commercial; they are valued at around $850,000. And there’s another huge catch: in order to even be considered for this pre-Big Game contest, you need to pay a $150,000 entry fee to Fox!

So if the broadcaster gets only six entrants, they’ll still be making money! Clever, Fox Sports… diabolical, but clever….