Channel 4’s Ideasfactory launches best viral awards

The UK public will get the chance to vote for the best online viral of 2005 in a contest called Germ, launched by Channel 4 creative networking arm Channel 4 Ideasfactory, in collaboration with viral site Bore Me, digital agency DS.Emotion and viral promoter Hot Cherry.

The Germ website, www.channel4.com/germ, is also being used to promote virals as a marketing tool, and includes exclusive interviews and articles from viral marketers including Lee and Dan, creators of the controversial spoof VW car bomb viral (MW, January 27).

Viral advertising is a hot topic, with the Advertising Standards Authority’s Committee on Advertising Practice discussing how viral ads can be brought fully within the ASA’s remit. Only virals actively distributed by a marketing agency or its clients are covered by ASA rules.

The Germ competition is free to enter and open to all UK agencies for viral e-mail ads produced in 2005.

Winners will be given free seeding on Bore Me’s home page for two weeks, which the site claims is worth &£5,000.

Adam Gee, Channel 4 commissioning editor, interactive, who is responsible for Ideasfactory, says: “The entertainment value, impact and reach of e-mail virals is phenomenal – a great idea will go global in next to no time, but if it is a bad idea, it will stop a viral in its tracks.”

He adds that Channel 4 aims to make the Germ award scheme an annual event.

The website will take entries from 17 October to 5 December. A panel of online and broadcast industry experts will draw up a shortlist, whose work will be put up on the site. The public will then have two weeks to vote for their favourite.

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