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Mozilla considers TV and movie ad campaign

The Mozilla foundation may take to the airwaves to promote its open source browser, Firefox
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor
With the competition to find the best creative ideas to help advertise its aims in full swing, the Mozilla Foundation has revealed that it may screen a Firefox advert on national television or in cinemas.

The organisation is currently running the Firefox Flicks Ad Contest, which is inviting professional, student and aspiring filmmakers to create "innovative, broadcast-quality 30-second commercials" for the open source browser. When the contest ends on the 14 April the panel of judges from the film, television and advertising industries will pick the winning entries.

Asa Dotzler, the community coordinator at the Mozilla Foundation, told ZDNet UK in an interview on Tuesday that the Foundation may screen some of the adverts on television or in cinemas.

"It depends on where the community thinks they belong. Certainly there are a handful in there that could go straight to TV, but would that be particularly useful? Would we do better to put our muscle behind the ones that are cheekier and less polished?" he said. "If we really like concept, but the execution isn't great, we will work with that person to produce a commercial with the intention of running it on TV, or on the Web."

In December 2004, the Mozilla Foundation published an advert for Firefox in the New York Times, after a quarter of a million dollars was raised in a community fundraising campaign. But, this time, the Foundation may be willing to use its burgeoning revenues to fund a television advert, according to Dotzler.

"If the communities are behind it, it might be something we can fund out of our organisation," said Dotzler. "Although, if the community wanted us to screen a 30-second ad during the Superbowl, we'd probably go back to them to raise the money."

Although there is a possibility that the advert may be screened on television, the main aim behind the contest was to generate new marketing material, according to Dotzler. 

"We didn't say, 'let's get a commercial that we can put out during Friends on NBC'. We said, 'lets go into new territory and not get too stagnant by relying on banner ads and reviews in magazines," said Dotzler.

He was unwilling to reveal how many competition entries the contest has had so far, but said he was pleased with the quality.

"It's great because people have played with the Firefox brand," he said. "A lot of people have taken great liberties with the look and feel of our logo and how they present it. Some are not appropriate for children as people have looked at what sells -- violence, sex and humour. There's one video that's pretty violent," he said.

As well as the Firefox Flicks contest, the organisation has also been running a community marketing campaign, where Firefox fans were encouraged to tell the world about the browser by publishing home-made videos on a Mozilla Web site. Before the launch of this campaign, Mozilla said that it may get hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of videos.

But, the campaign has not been as successful as it originally hoped, according to Dotzler.

"We ended up with something less than what we hoped for, although I'm really pleased with the quality of submissions," he said. "We ran into a number of difficulties with our testimonial tool — it was a little ambitious. We've gathered a couple of hundred good testimonials though."

The organisation will be announcing the "grand prize winner" of the testimonial contest this week, according to Dotzler.

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