I understand why they do it. Companies are under a tremendous amount of pressure to increase sales and profits. They’re trying to reach as many new customers as possible, so they come up with a the very enticing idea of an all inclusive trip to the one person who can get the most votes. It’s been going on for years and will continue for years to come.
I have a problem with this. As the girl who was frequently chosen last for the playground kickball team, I remember what it feels like to not be wanted. There is a subtle shame that you carry throughout the game, and then throughout your life. You can never really shine because you’re thinking, “I suck, it’s clear I don’t belong here.” We all want to belong. We are hard wired to belong, to be social, to live in groups. Team captains, teachers, and company owners don’t set out to make you feel bad. I’m sure that’s never their intention, but it’s the nature of a “vote for me” contest — someone will always get the least number of votes, someone will always feel bad at the end. I wish companies would see that in their effort to increase customers, they isolate a small group who could potentially be very loyal and increase sales long term.
There are businesses who put on contests that promote creativity, humor, and a way for each applicant to show who they really are in a positive way , such as Nuun Hydration. Every year in a effort to find runners for the holy grail of relays Hood to Coast, they select a wide variety of bloggers–oftentimes not the most popular. Another example is Oiselle. They put on caption contests, tweet out interesting questions and many other visionary ideas for contests. They sincerely select entrants based on how creative, authentic, funny, or heartfelt the applicant seems. Both of these companies continue to grow as a company and have very loyal fans because of it.
It makes me a little sick to my stomach to think that someone would feel less than, or that they don’t belong, because they did not have very many votes after entering a contest they deeply wanted to win. There are some amazing people out there. Just because you don’t have very many friends or followers, doesn’t mean you are not worthy. Some of the people who are small today, might be a huge success in the future. In fact, there is something to be said about quality VS. quantity. You may not have 1,000’s of followers on your blog, instagram, or facebook, but this says nothing about who you are as a person. I happen to be a huge fan of the underdog, the introvert, and freaks. Maybe what I’m saying is that oftentimes I feel like the underdog, the introvert, and a freak. We all want to be loved. We all want a group to identify with. Your group may be smaller, it’s still full of friendship and loving support. I feel as though, unknowingly theses companies are missing out on the fierce loyalty of these smaller groups of people.
I wanted to win this contest right –> HERE I entered because my husband and I could really use a vacation after what we went through last year but we really don’t have the means to take one on our own. Here’s the thing though, I don’t have a chance against the others. I might not win a popularity contest, or win a vacation, but I win at having the most loving small group of friends and followers, and that makes me complete. If for some oddball reason I won, I would try to turn over my prize to the blogger with the least amount of votes. I would honor and make her feel as special as she is. Fostering authentic relationships is more important to me than taking a vacation.
You may be saying, “Your only writing this because your loosing, if you were winning you wouldn’t care” I can see how you would think this, but it is simple not true. If I were to win, I would feel the same way, because I remember the countless times I was chosen last. That’s a feeling I will not soon forget.
This one is to all of the people who have ever hurt, felt less than, or felt ashamed for being last–I’m with you. You are loved, and you DO belong. Let’s stick together. -Lisa
What do you think about all of this?
Do you feel these types of contests are discouraging?
Have you ever felt unworthy because of a contest?