Thursday, November 26, 2009
On an industry forum, a new spec contest has come to light. Absolut Vodka is holding a creative contest. The winner gets a whopping $500.
$500 from a company that makes millions. Less than the janitor probably makes per week mopping the floors at their corporate headquarters.
Somebody excitedly posted the link (I've changed the name to indicate my true feelings)...
Absolut Bullshit Contest
Those that follow me know how I stand on this subject. But somebody in the industry wrote a response to me on the forum voicing my disapproval…
“This one wouldn't be bad practice for someone with little to no experience in the real world + you get to work on an Absolut Brief so it's not all bad.”
Here’s my response…
It's all bad. How does anyone get into the real world when the real world is the fact that Absolut (and all the others that do these demeaning contests) are taking work away from their agencies? No work = no agency. By contributing to these contests, what you are in fact telling these corporations is that we work for free. Our education means nothing, our money invested means nothing, our time means nothing.
Go call 20 dentists, have them all pitch to whiten your teeth, and tell them that the winner may get a long term client. "May" being the correct word. Or 10 mechanics can try and fix your car, and whoever succeeds, "may" get paid.
In every industry, they will tell you straight out to fuck off (I believe using profanity is appropriate in this situation).
In ours, the majority of us don't do a damn thing. Except for a select few (and don't think we don't rat these companies out to design organizations who in turn, write and bombard them with tastefully crafted nastiness), we continuously (as an industry) take it right up the ass.
And what's absolutely amazing is that many of us take it with a smile on our face.
I'm going to write Absolut and tell them to send over a dozen crates of different flavoured Vodkas.
If my friends and I have a great time (over the course of around a month), I will be sure to "mention their name" as a winner in my books on Facebook and Twitter. I'll even pay them a little something for their trouble.
Absolut: Please make sure you ring the doorbell when you deliver.
For more info on this subject, please visit
Posted by Ronnie LEBOW at 12:03 PM
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Hear, hear! I am glad someone is speaking out about this!
Absolut, if you read this posting, make sure you ring my doorbell too! I am waiting!
Love it Ronnie, keep the ball rolling!
Design seems to get thought of as a talent, like singing and dancing. So there are levels from bad to good, to outstanding. Whereas the mechanic or dentist is just doing their skill. Your car/teeth are either fixed or they're not.
Either way, design just never gets valued like it should.
The Absolut End.
Absolutely right Ronnie. As you may know Absolut Vodka's heritage is Swedish and years ago the railway workers in Sweden got paid half their wages in vodka. Drinking and driving a train was obviously considered safer than driving a car because you don't have to steer a train, only stop and start.
Perhaps Absolut's heritage is ingrained in their methods though from a PR point-of-view it sounds unwise.
Advertising used to be referred to as a form of prostitution. Now with people doing free designs it's sunk a lot lower than prostitution. At least hookers charge for their services and I notice the hourly rate of many 'escort' girls is higher than the hourly rate in the advertising and design world. Tells you something!
When a profession acts as the Advertising & Design profession is doing,it's hardly surprising that it is no longer respected and held in the esteem it deserves.
How we behave is how we are judged.
"No wonder the young have no respect - we're the ones they have to look up to."
Don Draper, Mad Men.
I'm generally in agreement with you Ronnie. I'll play devil's advocate in a small way here, and it has to do with understanding intent.
If the campaign is nothing but a cheap-ass way to get some free creative, then I agree. It chaps my cheeks and Absolut should be shaken and stirred hard. If, on the other hand, it is merely a publicity/promotion stunt and is not diminishing their contract with their agency of record, then perhaps we are breathing a little heavy here.
I don't know the particulars. Hell, for all we know the stunt may have been cooked up by their agency to generate a little customer buzz.
You may be right...I may be crazy, but it just might be a lunatic they're looking for.
Thanks for the link to No Spec!
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