Contests

Meet the Hero Designer Who Publicly Shamed Showtime for Asking Him to Work for Free

When Showtime invited Dan Cassaro to join a design "contest" he felt amounted to milking professionals for free work, he let the network—and the world—know how he felt about it. The offer, made to a number of designers, involved promoting the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana boxing match on Sept. 13. Those who submitted designs for Showtime's use "could be eligible for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and have your artwork displayed in the MGM Grand during fight week!," the network told Cassaro in an email. After sending an email response slathered in sarcasm ("I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs"), Cassaro then posted the exchange to Twitter. Here's the screenshot of the conversation (click to expand): In the week since, Cassaro's tweet has become a viral rallying cry for creatives who feel besieged by expectations of free work. It has more than 5,000 retweets and 5,600 favorites, and has become one of the topic's most electrifying moments since Mike Monteiro's "Fuck You Pay Me" speech in 2011.  Showtime issued a response to BuzzFeed, saying the network is "a strong supporter of artists around the world. This contest, like many others, is entirely optional." We caught up with Cassaro to ask what it's been like seeing his frustration go global.

Pinterest Clamps Down on Contests to Keep Them From Getting ‘Spammy’

Just a few months after Facebook finally eased off its restrictive contest guidelines, Pinterest seems to be taking the opposite approach. In a recent round of policy revisions and clarifications, the network has greatly limited the scope of promotions that can be hosted by brands and bloggers. In a blog post published Thursday, Pinterest marketing rep Kevin Knight laid out the many types of promotions that Pinterest isn't cool with. Specifically prohibited are promotions that: • Suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses them or the promotion • Require people to Pin from a selection (like a website or list of Pins) • Make people Pin the contest rules • Run a sweepstakes where each Pin, board, like or follow represents an entry • Encourage spammy behavior, such as asking participants to comment • Ask to vote with Pins, boards or likes • Require a minimum number of Pins Worth noting: Per these rules, a Pinterest contest can never have more than one entry per person, even if someone pins 100 items or engages with the contest every day for two weeks. Also, brands can't require contest participants to pin from a specific site or set of boards—a frequent tactic for helping spread branded content. These updates come (probably not coincidentally) as Pinterest staffers have been in a lengthy email exchange with influential mom blogger Amy Lupold Bair, who had registered the trademark for the term "pinning party." When she attempted to enforce the trademark on other virtual party hosts, Pinterest's legal team told her to stop—and that her pinning parties for brand clients were in violation of their promotion guidelines anyway. But when Lupold Bair asked for specifics on how a Pinterest promotion could or should be run, it soon became clear that the guidelines are complicated, poorly communicated (by Pinterest's own admission) and currently being observed by almost no one. When asked by Lupold Bair for a specific promotion that actually had followed the rules correctly, Pinterest policy chief Jud Hoffman acknowledged, "It's true that there aren't many examples of contests that follow our rules and encourage people to pin things that represent their authentic interests."

Make an Ad About Truth in Advertising, and You Could Win $5,000

Truth in advertising? Bwaa ha ha ha ha! Actually, that's the title of a new first novel by former Ogilvy & Mather creative exec John Kenney. The book is about a copywriter who faces a life crisis while trying to create a diaper commercial for the Super Bowl. (Hey, we've all been there.) Now, Kenney's publisher, Touchstone, is holding a contest asking people to design ads for the book. The deadline for submissions, which must feature the title and author's name, was just extended to April 30. The winner gets $5,000. The entries are so far a very mixed bag. Nicholas Howard produced the best video, in my estimation, with Brother Ali's primal and infectious "Truth is here, the truth is here!" playing over snippets of Truth in Advertising's media reviews. My favorites among the print include a giant circle (more like a black hole) with the tiny word "square" in parentheses beneath; a big yellow happy face with its mouth taped shut and the headline "Just sell smiles"; and a mammoth asterisk atop a huge block of unreadable fine print. Another intriguing, evocative image shows a strange billboard with a shiny, seemingly reflective surface in some lonely wasteland on the edge of town. Its creator, Ray Ludacer, tells AdFreak that it's a photograph of a blurry bar code, designed to symbolize that "the lines of what is true in advertising are often blurred. You can see it as a mirror too." Hmmm, might be a tad too cerebral for ad land, Ray. Next time, just make the logo bigger.

Smithsonian.com Launches Video Contest

Following Smithsonian magazine’s digitally-focused redesign last year, Smithsonian.com getting ready to launch a short film contest titled Smithsonian in Motion.

Virgin’s Most Frequent Flier This Year Will Win a Trip to Space

As prizes go, it doesn't get much better than this. Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia are holding a contest in which the person who logs the most miles on those airlines between now and next Aug.

Meet the Three Products That Just Won a Place on Walmart’s Shelves

Walmart's "Get on the Shelf" contest, which saw more than 4,000 inventors and small businesses compete for the chance to get their product into Walmart stores, has wrapped up, and the winners have been announced. They are: HumanKind Water, PlateTopper and SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit. Wait, really? Huh. Well, at least two of the three are ethical companies. HumanKind gives 100 percent of its net profits to organizations that provide access to clean drinking water in underdeveloped communities worldwide. And PlateTopper—a plastic gizmo that covers food on plates, replacing plastic wrap—donates to the anti-bullying campaign Jaylen's Challenge. SnapIt offers no such pretensions, but that also means they'll spend less time talking around their decision to work with retailers as unethical as Walmart. See ads for all three products after the jump.

Brands Discuss Mother’s Day Marketing on Facebook

Earlier this year, Facebook polled 1,000 users on what they were planning to buy as Mother’s Day gifts. Flowers topped the list, with jewelry tying clothing in the number-three spot. Another major part of Mother's Day gifting? Facebook.

Pittsburgh Will Pay You $100,000 If You’ll Just Please Move There

How much money would it take to lure you to move to Pittsburgh? How about $100,000? Some wags in SoHo would probably say no amount is enough. STFU, SoHo!

‘Reader’s Digest’ Wants Your Life Story in 150 Words or Less

Oh boy, do I have a contest for you long-winded Facebookers and personal bloggers. It's called, "Your Life: The Reader's Digest Version." The venerable magazine is willing to shell out $25,000 if you can keep The Story of You to a crisp and compelling 150 words (words, not characters—this isn't Twitter). Hell, I'd fork over that much if certain "friends" would stop sending me six-page family missives disguised as Christmas cards. Short and sweet, people! You are not that interesting. Jane Lynch, star of Glee and host of next month's Emmy Awards, gets the ball rolling with her own abbreviated life story on the magazine's Facebook page (see it after the jump). Shame, it sounds nothing like her caustic Sue Sylvester character from the Fox musical. Rather, it's an earnest promo-within-a-promo for Lynch's memoir, Happy Accidents, dropping in September. More celebrities with books to hawk will follow. But if Lynch, a sought-after, award-winning actress (Best in Show, Role Models, Party Down), can give a snapshot into her psyche within just a few sentences, so can you. I'd be even happier with a haiku.

Short Film With Split Personality Wins Nokia N8 Contest

Dear J.W. Griffiths: