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Over the last year and a half, TripAdvisor has launched a series of TV advertising campaigns — its first attempts — in the U.S., Canada, France and Australia.

Company officials conceded along the way that TripAdvisor didn’t get it right at first, although more recent spots have done much better.

Many of the 15- and 30-second TV spots revolved around the theme, “Don’t just visit New York, Visit TripAdvisor New York. With millions of reviews, TripAdvisor makes any destination better.”

Here was one of the ads, which in my opinion, was a jumbled mess. All that talking at once comes off as confusing, distracting, and there is nothing memorable about the spot.

But, alas, TripAdvisor, with its 170 million reviews and opinions and 280 million monthly unique visitors, found a solution: Let its users compete to create TV ads for TripAdvisor.

Note to TripAdvisor’s latest creative agency: Uh oh.

The winner of the contest was Denver-based filmmaker Jason Graisa and his creative partner, Curt Donohue, both TripAdvisor members, and they took home a $25,000 prize for their “Fargo” submission.

The “Fargo” ad is a lot more effective than TripAdvisor’s “Split” ad. The Fargo ad borrows from TripAdvisor’s basic advertising premise, but the Fargo ad is clean, clear, funny and effective. Anyone traveling to Fargo will know exactly what to do before the trip.

TripAdvisor, which just launched a second contest, handed out $1,000 each to five runners-up. The “Fargo” ad and those from the runners-up will appear on TV in their respective countries, says TripAdvisor spokesperson Kevin Carter, although their frequencies have not been determined.

TripAdvisor’s “Don’t Just Visit” advertising campaign will continue to run in October 2014, and the company “expects to expand this channel in 2015,” Carter says.

“We’re very pleased with the early results our ‘Don’t Just Visit’ campaign,” he adds.

Here are the submissions of the runners-up:

Melody Beam (Calif., USA) – “Little Girl”

Oscar Lopez (Fla., USA) – “Pet Friendly”

Carolyn Duchene (South Australia, Australia) – “Sydney Animated”

Scott Wood (New South Wales, Australia) – “Sydney Construction”

Christopher Osmont (Marly Le Roi, France) – “Paris et sa Viennoiserie”

Photo Credit: A screenshot from the "Fargo" ad, the winner of a TripAdvisor contest, and it was submitted by Denver-based filmmaker Jason Graisa and his creative partner, Curt Donohue. TripAdvisor