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The luxury tavel magazine Condé Nast Traveler has recently had a novel idea to get readers and tourists involved with its publication. The magazine has given travellers a unique opportunity to enter a film festival with a difference. Dubbed ‘Shorties’, this promotion will enable travellers who have shot absorbing videos of less than 60 seconds to receive recognition.

The Shorties Film Festival

This is literally a film festival for travel videos lasting less than a minute, and there are even four time-based categories for tourists to enter their best efforts into. Travellers can thus submit videos lasting 6 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds into the ‘Shorties’ promotion.

Web savvy individuals will have instantly noticed that this is very much in line with contemporary trends for videos online. We see an increasingly large number of shorter videos featuring on social media sites, while young people in particular will be very familiar with the concept of a Vine.

It is not surprising then that although participants can submit entries direct to the website, there is also the opportunity to upload them to Twitter, Vine and Instagram by using the hashtags #TravelerShorties and #ContestEntry.

With this competition, it is clear that Condé Nast Traveler is moving with the times. The magazine was founded back in 1987, with a clear focus on literary journalism and hard news reporting. Yet as much as that ethos and modus operandi remains, the magazine is keen to embrace new technologies and approaches to travel journalism. And ignoring social media and video in such a context would be rather foolish.

It is particularly valuable to pay heed to what Condé Nast Traveler is doing, as its founder Sir Harold Evans declared from the time that it was first published that no travel industry freebies would be accepted by any journalist or employee of the company, or the magazine itself. This is an absolutely independent publication, so the ‘Shorties’ competition is firstly interesting, and the results will be doubly so.

In order to ensure a credible result, all videos uploaded into the competition are to be vetted by tastemakers, filmmakers, and Condé Nast Traveler editors. The winner of the competition will be announced in March of this year, and it is certainly a competition well worth winning. The overall winner of the competition will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Dubai, while another major winner, to be determined by popular consumer vote, will receive a Norwegian Cruise Line vacation.

Growing Industry Trend

This latest promotion from the travel publication isn't the first example of short form videos being embraced by a tourist organisation. The rapidly growing company Airbnb - a website enabling people to rent out lodging - has already employed a similar strategy. Airbnb created its first film comprised of six-second Vines submitted by users from all over the world back in September 2013.

There are three notable elements of this promotion for Digital marketers to pay particular attention to. Firstly, this is very much aimed at mobile users. Condé Nast Traveler aren't seriously expecting people to carry camcorders around and then submit entries which have been filmed professionally. This is a contest and festival which revolves around smartphones in particular.

This wouldn't have been possible a few years ago, but as smartphone technology has rapidly developed, the capabilities of the modern market-leading devices is outstanding in this department. All major smartphone devices are able to record video in full HD, sometimes at 60 frames per second. And there are an increasing number of smartphones which also enable 4K resolution shooting, including the iconic iPhone 6, Samsung’s outstanding mobile device the Galaxy Note 4, and a smartphone which was considered by some publications to be the outstanding device of 2014, the LG G3.

mobile video

The Key of Interactivity

Secondly, this is yet another example of a travel-related company attempting to incentivise people to interact. A community-driven approach to marketing and promotion is increasingly advisable, as people no longer have such a passive relationship with media. This has been driven almost entirely by the Internet, with social media platforms and comments sections of all manner of websites really driving and shaping, not only consumer, but human behaviour as a whole.

And thirdly, as mentioned previously, Condé Nast Traveler is tapping into the contemporary craze for short, snappy videos that convey an easily comprehensible, and often humorous, message in a short period of time.

The campaign will run for a couple of months yet, and there seems little doubt that many readers of the magazine and travellers in general will submit their videos with the hope of winning.

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