A few days back, New York-based designer/illustrator Dan Cassaro received a mail from American cable TV network Showtime, asking him to join their design contest to promote the Mayweather vs. Maidana boxing match on September 13. They said they “dug his style” and the contest winner would be flown to Las Vegas and have their artwork displayed at the MGM Grand.
Cassaro came up with a gem of a reply filled to the brim with sarcasm. He wrote back saying that he knows Vegas boxing matches are extremely low-budget affairs and Mayweather himself pulled in ‘just $80 million’ for his last fight. But if Showtime manages to ‘scrape’ a few dollars from this ‘grassroots’ event they should consider compensating people for doing the thing they are professionally trained to do.
Here’s the mail from Showtime and Cassaro’s reply:
That’s not all…
Cassaro tweeted a screenshot of both mails with a caption that said “I don’t work for free”. At the time of writing this post, his tweet had been retweeted over 6200 times.
I don't work for free. pic.twitter.com/Mxm7DrupRw
— Dan Cassaro (@Dan_Cassaro) August 11, 2014
Social media is abuzz with supportive reactions from professionals in the industry lauding Cassaro’s stance. This episode has also opened up a valid debate – are crowdsourced creative contests with no monetary reward extracting free work in exchange for 15-minutes of fame?
Showtime responded with a statement that said they supported artists around the world, the contest is optional and winners stand to gain from the “invaluable national exposure”. Cassaro however maintains that the whole thing is unethical and compared it to electricians being asked to install free lighting for the fight. He also said that participation in a contest like this devalues the work of everyone in the profession.
Do you agree with Cassaro? Are creative contests like these extracting free work in exchange for 15 minutes of fame? Does a monetary reward make all the difference? Share this post, spread the message and voice your opinion in the comments below.