If you watch TV, you're likely to see tons of Windows ads and Apple's "I'm a Mac" ads, but where are the Linux ads? There have been a few TV ad campaigns featuring Linux (thanks IBM!) but overall, Linux is absent from the airwaves. The Linux Foundation wants to do something about that.
Specifically, the Linux Foundation is sponsoring a "We're Linux" video contest to drum up videos from Linux users about what Linux means to them. The grand prize is a trip to Tokyo for the Japan Linux Symposium in October 2009.
Originally the contest was called "I'm Linux" but was changed after feedback suggesting that "we" would be more appropriate for a community driven effort.
Can grassroots compete with big money? Well, the Linux community can certainly do better than Microsoft's Seinfeld ads. But that's setting the bar a bit low. Given the scope and breadth of the Linux community, I don't doubt that some of the entries are going to be staggeringly good. (I really hope so, as I'm one of the contest judges...)
Certainly, they have to be good to compete with the big money in terms of distribution. As the Linux Foundation pointed out on its videos page, they don't have the budget to carpet bomb the airwaves with ads.
To work on advertising Linux, the community will have to be creative and clever. To get people to spread the videos beyond the immediate ranks of Linux users, the videos are going to have to be worth people's time. Either humorous, or really interesting in some way.
This would be a great project for film school students and budding marketeers. Success might not only net a free trip to Tokyo, but also wide-scale exposure.
The winning video will be announced in April at the Collaboration Summit in San Francisco.