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Best Practice

High School Lip Dub Contest sponsored by university, Generates $200,000

A well-executed video contest scored 2.2 million votes

A lip dubbed promotional video explains the contest to students, parents and teachers.
Alisa Cromer

Media: FOX 50

Company: Capitol Brodcasting 
Initiative: High School Lip Dub Contest

Market: Raleigh Durham, North Carolina

Note: Many thanks to SecondStreetMedia for sharing this case study with us. 

Challenge: In 2010, the FOX 50 team was looking for an exciting contest that could be tied in with the FOX television series Glee and generate sponsorship revenues. Now in its third year, the initiative is a success, sponsored by Goodwill Community Foundation and William Peace University.

Strategy: The station decided to create a lip dub video contest targeting high school students based on a similar contest they saw created by another station. 

Lib dubbing means lip singing to an audio clip of a song. The contest was set up on Second Street's media's platform and advertised on air, online, and on Facebook. Here are some main componenents: 

• Advance planning. The FOX 50 team planned the contest well in advance, which is important for a video contest to work well. The team also consulted with area high schools to get their buy-in and ensure participation. The meetings with schools were instrumental in getting the first few on board; eventually, 44 area high schools participated. 

• A fantastic prize. FOX50 made sure prizes were valuable: $10,000 to the winning school; $5,000 for second place; and $2,500 for third place. 

• Clear rules. Rules included the exclusion of video editing, except to lay down the sound track, so that it was one long unedited clip. No graphics were allowed (except for signs and banners held up by students appearing in the video). Only students in grades 9 to 12 were allowed to participate, as were school staff and teachers as long as they did not hold the camera. 

Only one video was allowed per school, meaning that each video had more focus. 

• Comprehensive promotions. Schools were kept involved in the promotion with the ability to download posters and other marketing materials from the station's web site.

FOX 50 also created a video to promote the contest and a Behind-The-Scenes video documented how the media team made their own video.

This one is worth showinthe team to get them excited about replicating this contest. 

The submission period was about a month-and-a-half, and the voting period lasted five days, allowing viewers to vote for their favorite lip dub video from one of the 44 participating high schools.

Watch some of the winning entries here, 

Sponsors: Goodwill Community Foundation has been the title sponsor, and William Peace University has been a web-only sponsor all three years. Note: Universities and vocational schools are often overlooked as great partners for high school contests, so this was a smart match up. In 2012, It’s OK 2 Ask, a suicide prevention task force, joined the campaign, and in 2013, 86it.com, an anti-littering organization, signed on. These give some good ideas for the kinds of entities interested in targeting high school students with positive messages. 

Pricing and packaging: The advertising packages that the title and presenting sponsors received included:

Logo and audio on all TV promos
Web banners
Page wraps
Pre-roll before each video
Mentioned in texts and social media shoot-outs
Invitation to watch presentations


More than 40 schools participated, generating more than 2.2 million votes. The total in sponsorship revenues by the third year was $200,000. The winning school, Jack Britt High School, gave a rousing lip sync to "Can't Touch This." 

The promotions were honored by FOX Affiliate Relations for the best 2012 Sales Success Story in the Country in the Social Media division.

See also the FOX50 Faq sheet. 

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.

lip dub contest, Fox 50, advertising, video