I have never entered any print contest because it's just too damn hard to know/understand the tastes of the judges, yet this one had a dangling carrot that was impossible for me to resist ($1,000,000 in free advertising) so it was worth giving it a shot.
I had a lot of ideas for FAUX ads, but the rules stated the winning entry was to be a real ad. In fact, the winning entry had to be the first published ad of the prize winner.
Believe me, I fought the urge to enter, but the more I thought about the contest the more I knew I wouldn't be able to resist my unconcious and had to enter. (I love putting ads together.) I spent a Saturday afternoon (and evening) putting one together while watching/listening to college football games.
My original ad was more traditional, with the picture at the top, the headline beneath it and the copy beneath the headline. But since some of the judges were graphic designers I ended up changing the look. Instead of leaving the copy black on a white background I went with reversed out type which the majority of print ads run these days.
The chances of winning were over 100 to 1 so I knew going in my chances were slim or none (leaning heavily towards (very) slim). Needless to say I did not win. The winning "power or storytelling" entry was from Google's creative team and you can see a pic of it below next to my entry:
When my wife saw the winning entry she said: "You gotta be f#@cking kidding me!"
USA Today is thinking of running another contest. Will I enter? You betcha!