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The CONTESTing Problem


Tonight, I spent some time catching up with my good friend Sean Slater from RawrDenim. Amidst talking about journalism and snails on weed, we had a lengthy discussion on the benefits and purposes of denim contests in general. He felt that denim contests were great as they promote brands to the community and it serves as great advertising for the sponsors. So I decided to write a piece that future sponsors and contest organizers could reflect upon.

For a sponsor to consider financing a denim contest, it has to be a great contest and that depends on several criterion. First and foremost, would be the purpose of the contest. If for example, the contest is intended specifically for a particular forum without outside advertising, then this is what I would call internal advertising. However, if the intention is to sponsor a contest for the sole purpose of attracting new customers and attain mass market appeal, then the above example will by no means achieve that goal.

Running a denim contest on one particular forum with a small participation level can prove to be a very warm intimate experience. This is by no means a bad thing, however, most sponsors I know would like to get their money’s worth and the greater the participation level, the greater the benefit. Of course, participation level can be an inadequate guide as well. We need to look at how is the contest being advertised? Is it reaching anyone outside the denim community? How accessible are the contest details?

To avoid internal advertising, we need to understand how it happens. Internal advertising can be intentionally or in most cases unintentionally achieved by several means. We could raise the barriers to entry by adding requirements like a certain weight or brand, invite only members of a certain group, impose a duration, or even set requirements that have to be fulfilled which require a large commitment from the participants. Barriers to entry like these can prove to be very daunting on anyone intending to join, more so to new comers than seasoned denim heads.

Sean rightfully pointed out that after the Eternal contest ended, Eternal started coming back in favor. To which I said Eternal is back in favor with Superfuture, but has the contest helped Eternal extend its reach to the likes of Evisu? Bear in mind that most people would be appalled at just how much a denim head is willing to spend on a pair of jeans, it would take quite the contest to convince them into purchasing what WE would consider entry level denim.

I see lots of denim contests popping up across the forums these days and most with little substance. Denim contests are always good because they keep the community alive. But just because denim contests are good for the community, it doesn’t mean all of them are good denim contests. Good denim contests not only appeal to denim heads but people who could some day be denim heads as well.

– Saintkeat


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