The maker of QuickBooks accounting software is planning its second competition in which small companies will vie for a 30-second spot in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7. The winner will get the kind of exposure that big brands like Budweiser, Chevrolet and Microsoft pay millions to get.
The contest begins June 1 with companies submitting stories about their businesses and why they should be showcased during the most widely viewed television event of the year. The submissions are then voted on by the public and Intuit employees.
The winner of the first contest, toy maker GoldieBlox, saw its sales soar after it won Intuit's competition and had a commercial in the 2014 Super Bowl, says Lindsey Shepard, vice-president of sales and marketing for the Oakland, California, company.
"Within the first 15 seconds, we had tens of thousands of people visiting the website," she says. The ad, which can be seen on YouTube, shows girls getting rid of their traditional toys like dollhouses.
The toy maker, which beat out 15,000 other companies, doubled its staff and signed up with a second factory in China, Shepard says. GoldieBlox toy sets include a book, blocks, wheels, cranks and other parts that children can use to build structures with moving parts. They're aimed at piquing girls' interest in building things.
Super Bowl ads get almost as much attention as the game itself. Viewers post comments on social media, and the ads are a topic of conversation when people get to work the next day. A Budweiser ad featuring a Labrador retriever puppy and Clydesdale horses has gotten more than 60 million views on YouTube.
This year's Super Bowl had an audience of 114.4 million people and set a record for the most-watched event in U.S. television history. A 30-second commercial cost $4.5 million.
The commercial for the contest-winning company will be created by the advertising agency RPA, which produced the GoldieBlox ad. The winning small business will be chosen through four rounds of voting. There will be three companies in the final round, and the winner will be chosen by the public.