OK, Joe Public, here’s your chance.
The Federal Trade Commission will issue $50,000 to anyone who can stop robotic marketing calls that are not only illegal, but also constitute crimes against human sanity. As the public well knows, previous efforts to regulate these annoying calls over the years have achieved only limited success–and now the FTC is seeking help wherever it may be found.
David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explains: “The FTC is attacking illegal robo-calls on all fronts, and one of the things that we can do as a government agency is to tap into the genius and technical expertise among the public.”
The search runs from October 25 to January 17, and applicants must find ways to stop robo-calls on landlines, cell phones, or both (which will result in a higher score). Of course, the subsequent media attention will then catapult the winner into the cultural stratosphere, where they will forever live as an icon to everything that is good in the universe. (So get busy people!)
This contest also poses a compelling PR study, because Americans are highly opinionated about their government–and now that same government is very openly seeking the public’s help. Some citizens, of course, will see this effort as just another example of a failed bureaucracy unable to perform basic services. Still others will perceive it as the very pinnacle of a nation’s people and its government working together for the common good.
The presidential election is merely weeks away, so everyone is a bit touchy right now with regard to anything government-related. Nevertheless, America has come together before: We put a man on the moon. We invented Post-It Notes. And, now, if we come together as one, if we collaborate and leverage the best of our intelligence and collective talents, we can put an end to rob-calls.
Please. Someone. We know you’re out there.