Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday ~ Double Standard?!

Have you heard?  

The POTUS is running a contest - an "Art Works Poster Contest".  "Obama for America is seeking poster submissions from artists across the country illustrating why we support President Obama's plan to create jobs now, and why we'll re-elect him to continue fighting for jobs for the next four years.

Who determines who will win & the prize? " We'll pick the 12 best submissions received by November 4th, 2011, then put the finalists to a vote. Three winners will receive a framed print of their poster signed by President Obama and a limited edition of their poster will be sold in the campaign store."

I have to give a shout out to Ken Peters, aka @ for tweeting about this story on Wednesday.  

It raised questions in my mind as to why it would be considered offensive to ask designers to volunteer their time & talents to come up with a winning poster to sell the jobs bill message, given this brave new world of crowdsourcing we live in today.  Is it purely the context of an unpaid assignment when the point of the agenda is to put together a plan to get people back to work that gets some people so hot & bothered? Or is it that President Obama's Labor Department has voiced concern over unpaid internships?

Crowdsourcing can be defined as "the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers." 

This isn't the first time we've seen politicians make use of crowdsourcing as a tool to more easily connect with their constituents & supporters. Microsoft developed tools, TownHall and Campaign Ready over a year ago for that very purpose & targeted politicians to utilize it.

We all know Guy Kawasaki utilized crowdSPRING to solicit design help in finding & deciding on a cover choice for "Enchantment". There were 760 entries all competing for a single $1,000 award. Even Guy has taken a few lumps from some that disagreed with the outcome of the contest. 

One blog post I found looks to cry on our shoulder over not winning the contest. Another post puts a positive spin on it - telling readers why it's not such a bad idea to participate in design contests such as these. It flies in the face of the contrasting ideas presented in the Rolling Stone post.

Doritos is once again using crowdsourcing to find a Superbowl Ad for the next superbowl. Their project is called "DORITOS® Crash the Super Bowl Ad Contest ("Contest")" The difference with Doritos is that people are competing for a healthy prize package - not just an autographed poster. Just like the POTUS contest, the rules do say that all submissions are the intellectual property of the Sponsor and their agents:

"By entering this Contest and uploading your Submission, you irrevocably grant to Sponsor and their agents the unconditional and perpetual right to post, display, publish, use, adapt, edit and/or modify such Submission in any way, in any and all media, for any purpose, without limitation, and without consideration to you. Finalists agree to irrevocably assign and transfer to the Sponsor any and all rights, title and interest in Submission, including, without limitation, all copyrights and waive all moral rights in Submission. All Contest Entrants further agree to release and indemnify and hold harmless the NFL Entities (as defined below), Sponsor and the Contest Parties from any and all claims that any commercial, advertising, presentation, Web content or any other material subsequently produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of Sponsor infringe on the rights of Entrant’s work as contained in any Submission."

Is that any more or less fair than relinquishing rights of the jobs poster designs, essentially as a donation to the cause of promoting a jobs bill?

I found a more extensive list of major brands who have engaged in similar sponsored competitions, including Electrolux, JetBlue, L'Oreal, Peugeot & Virgin just to name a few.

In the midst of the 2012 Presidential Campaigns, everyone rejoices in every misstep these candidates make & the POTUS is no exception.  We've poked fun of  & judged them all for every statement and platform agenda item which is not supported by one party or another or 100% by verifiable facts.

The question is do we hold an even higher standard for President Obama? What are your thoughts... it this contest a great idea or just a hypocritical thorn in the Obama campaign's side?

10/24/2011 Update:  Ken Peters, aka @ posted this link where the AIGA wrote a letter asking the Obama Campaign to reconsider it's "Art Works Poster Contest". Check out their reasons why.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:  Will You Wait & See or Are You Riding The Google+  Bandwagon?! or  How Relevant Are You? ...In the 21st Century Workplace


Anonymous said...

Monika -
An interesting and relevant link.....

Monika said...

Thanks Jenn for posting this link with recommended guidelines around & the risks of spec work.

Pulling Tin said...

Monika you are dead on in your assessment. Do people think that the unpaid won't turn into paid? If they do their crazy. How many times have businesses bartered for goods and services when it makes sense to make this type of investment. If both parties have a healthy relationship these have shown to be good investments of time, money and resources. The problem is we have become a society of trying to get over on people.

People also have to realize no you are not going to instantly be a billionaire off every idea you share with a company, but believe if these same people would step back and look at the whole picture, surprisingly you find benefits far greater than the mythical billion dollars you thought you were going to get! Great post Monika!!!!