Win a Super Bowl ad by telling your business story

July 31, 2013: 1:41 PM ET
superbowl ad
Software maker Intuit is holding a contest for small businesses where the winning prize is a free 30-second ad during next year's Super Bowl.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

For most small businesses, ponying up millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad is a pipe dream.

But business software maker Intuit wants to make that dream a reality and is offering the chance to score a 30-second ad -- for free -- during the most watched event of the year.

Intuit's contest, which kicked off Wednesday, is open to any U.S.-based business with 50 or fewer full-time employees. For a chance at the prize, a business owner or employee must submit a story about their company to www.smallbusinessbiggame.com by Sept. 22.

The top 20 will be selected by an online vote, and then Intuit's (INTU) 8,000 employees will vote to pick four finalists. A new online vote in December will determine the grand-prize winner. Intuit will pick up the cost for a 30-second commercial, which will air during the third quarter of Super Bowl 2014.

"We think small businesses are the unsung heroes of the economy, and this contest is a way to shine a light on them," said Heather McLellan, director of Intuit's small business division. Indeed, it's hard to imagine a bigger platform than the Super Bowl, which typically breaks viewership records.

Nearly 109 million people watched the Super Bowl last year, only slightly below the previous year's record-setting 111 million viewers.

The price of Super Bowl ads, too, has reached record levels. The cost for a 30-second spot hit a record high last year of at least $4 million.

"We think this is an opportunity of a lifetime for one small business," said McLellan.

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