On Moleskine's Facebook page
Upmarket notebook brand Moleskine has walked into a social media hail storm after launching a competition that asked designers – its core customers – to come up with a new company logo.
The contest, which challenges designers to create a new badge for the blog Moleskinerie, has been dubbed “Molescheme” by members of the design community who accuse the company of exploitation, crowdsourcing creativity and devaluing design.
Ill feeling towards the brand has been driven by a website backed by a designer who claims that Moleskine was making use of 28,000 hours of free design time.
The homepage of the site reads:
1 designer wins. 3,499 designers lose. Moleskine is the real winner here. If Moleskine redeem themselves by dropping this dreadful spec work competition I will continue to buy their products. Otherwise I’ll boycott. It’s that simple
The onslaught focused on Moleskine’s 100,000-strong Facebook page, where comments read:
“There is a reason why prada does not open a competition for bags and apple does not open a competition for the next iphone.”
“So clueless. I am saving all these announcements as part of my lecture on PR failure and how company can just keep missing what the problem is.
“I think you have just undermined any good you have ever done within the design community. You have lost a lot of ground with your core market. Idiots.”
“Who was the genius who thought to organize the contest that generated this mess was a good idea?”
“I really thought this company would value good design. Shame. Seems they’re just another load of exploiting scumbags. I no longer value their products.”
On Saturday, Molekine issued the following response on its Facebook page, which did not succeed in improving the situation:
As far as the Moleskinerie logo contest is concerned, we would like to clarify that since the nature of Moleskinerie has always been participative, made up of passionate contributions and voluntary submissions, we decided to let the community participate again in creating the new logo of the blog.
We decided to collaborate with Designboom to do so, a leading online design magazine, which is well …aware of how to run a contest of this kind.
If you had spent some time on the “Competitions” area of Designboom website, you certainly have seen that other Brands are running and previously decided to run similar contests, with the same regulation of our with great participation as well as amazing results.
That said, being a contest, there’s a final price for the winner, but all the submissions are free, as well you are free not to taking part to it.
Thanks to anyone who has decided, and will decide to take part to it.
Today, Moleskine issued the following apology:
Let’s start by apologizing for being so late with our reply. We have been reading your comments carefully, in order to formulate a course of action that, in our opinion, takes into account the feedback we received, while being fair to those who have entered the contest.
Moleskinerie is a blog that grew out of the enthusiasm and voluntary contributions of a lot of Moleskine fans arou…nd the world. Since taking it over, we have tried very hard to respect the original DNA of Moleskinerie and running a contest to create the new logo for the blog seemed like a good idea to involve the community on a project related to a blog of this nature. Also, we wanted to reach a part of the design community we rarely work with.
It has never been our purpose to exploit the rights of any of the authors. Therefore, we made a mistake in accepting standard rules for the contest, including the possibility to retain the rights on entries submitted by all participant. This was inconsistent with our intentions and the result of an oversight on our end. We apologize for this.
We have decided to change the contest rules. In particular, we will modify Article 10 of “the call for entries” to only refer to the winner of the €5.000 cash prize of the contest. We will retain no rights on any other entry. Separately, we will continue to review how we can work with the design community at large, beyond those professionals we already work with on a regular basis.
The deadline for competition submissions is November 10, and the winner is to be announced in early December.