How not to do a make-your-own-ad competition

Oh Oxo. What have you done?

There have been quite a few make-your-own-ad competitions of late, jumping on the user-generated content bandwagon. Most, like the Barclaycard one inviting you to make your own version of the “waterslide” ad, have been pretty good.

Oxo’s offering, though, is appalling.

Called “The Oxo Factor”, it asks the public to make their own TV ad for Oxo to be screened during The X Factor, for a chance to win £10,000. So far, so normal.

Except that it’s not really their own ad at all. Because Oxo have written a script, and you have to use it. Sorry, remind me what the point of user-generation is again?

It gets worse. Your ad has to feature a family. But it’s OK, Oxo proclaim, “It’s 2009. There’s no such thing as “the OXO Family” any more. We’re ALL OXO Families!”. So my single-parent, four-child family would be fine? Er, no. Despite it being 2009, your family is still required to have “a Mum, a Dad and a couple of kids”.

This is where it gets ridiculous.

“Don’t worry if there aren’t that many people in your family. Just get a friend to fill in. Put a moustache on your Nan and get her to be the Dad”

What. The. Christ.

Mum dead? Don’t worry about it! Put a wig on your uncle and all’s well.

Further stifling your creativity is this:


Anyone else feel that the “Have fun” sandwiched in-between two rather stern admonishments is a teensy bit insincere? You may have fun, but only within these strictly established guidelines.

To summarise, we have a make-your-own competition that requires you to fulfil a predefined notion of what a family is, or fake it if you don’t, follow a prewritten script to the letter (including directions about what camera shot goes where) and make sure it’s not a hair over or under the prescribed 30 seconds.

All for £10,000.

Any chance you just didn’t want to fork out for cast and crew there, Oxo?

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