Nikon D5000 launch gets assist from UGC

MELVILLE, NY: Nikon is celebrating the HD capabilities of the Nikon D5000, with the launch of its first online film festival aimed at creating an ongoing dialogue with consumers via social media.

MELVILLE, NY: Nikon is celebrating the HD capabilities of the Nikon D5000, with the launch of its first online film festival aimed at creating an ongoing dialogue with consumers via social media.

The user-generated online contest, at www.nikonfestival.com, challenges aspiring filmmakers to upload short-form video based on the theme, “A Day through your Lens.” In a nod to Twitter's 140-character limit, the videos can run up to 140-seconds in length. A panel of celebrity judges will select a winner for $100,000-plus of Nikon equipment.

Social media is the primary driver of the PR effort, with a dedicated Nikon Festival Facebook page and Twitter account, at 500 fans and 400 followers, respectively, just three days after launch. Nikon spokesperson, actor Ashton Kutcher, alerted his 3.9 million Twitter followers about the contest and also uploaded his own video submission, which captures his recent trip to Africa.

“We also have three great judges, who are helping us in terms of the PR plan by generating media coverage and online buzz,” said Lisa Baxt, Nikon's senior communications manager. The celebrity judges—The Office actor Rainn Wilson, YouTube star Justine Ezarik and photographer Chase Jarvis—will also share personal video, as well as blog and tweet about the contest. On November 11, for example, Ezarik posted a video on YouTube explaining how to create a Nikon Festival submission, which has already been viewed more than 156,000 times.

Nikon is further driving the social media push, by awarding a “$25,000 Audience Award” to the maker of the video with the highest average rating and most audience views. “The audience award will really help to generate the social media aspect,” said Baxt. “If you enter an award, you're going to want to make sure your social media network knows about it, views it and rates it.”

The winners of the contest—submissions can be made until December 15, 2009—will be announced in January. The contest is also being supported by a national TV and online advertising campaign, featuring Kutcher.

Baxt said that Nikon “has a long-range plan in place” to take advantage of the dialogue it has started with consumers online. “This is a dedicated audience and it is something we don't want to lose. We may migrate it to other places,” Baxt told PRWeek. “There are things we may end up doing with the winners. It is all about seeing the videos and what we can do with them. There may be a really great story that has legs beyond the contest that we may want to do something with.”

MWW Group is the AOR for Nikon.

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