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I was emailed a few weeks ago telling me about a competition that was going to be run by Next to find two baby models. The terms of the competition looked OK and Next are known to be a reputable company and we love their clothes so I thought hay why not, it is a paid sponsored post and my readers might just fancy it.
Well I bow my head in shame I can tell you.
The competition is all being run through their facebook page and parents can upload one picture of their baby and at the end the 12 with the most votes will go to a casting and Next will pick the winner. Sounds OK?
Well it has turned into a complete war on their facebook page with entrants trying to bag the most votes for their little bundle of joy, people are making youtube videos to promote their children and doing 'like for like' voting. Entrants are apparently receiving hate mail regarding their children...it really is a disgrace that parents and/or people in general can behave like this.
Why the PR Company behind this didn't just say they would pick the finalists, in my opinion, is no big surprise. To enter you have to put in your email address (of which there are thousands of entrants) and anyone who votes for their child also has to supply their email address. Parents on the Next ‘Facebook Wall’ have even admitted to canvassing down their street to get votes! So Next have essentially got thousands upon thousands of email addresses all for £500 and a 12 month modelling contract!
That said I am not sure Next did foresee the complete chaos that has ensued. They had to close down their comments overnight so they could catch up on responses and they now seem to have a big team of moderators on hand to answer the questions that are coming in by the dozen by the minute.
Why does it come to this? What makes these parents become so competitive, is it just an extension of the whole 'American Beauty Pageant' Culture? Whatever it is, it is not healthy and I am scared of BB growing up in a world that is based on such 'fake' aspirations. I personally don't see anything wrong with entering your baby into the competition, but there is definitely such a thing as taking it too far.
What are your thoughts? I know a lot of mummy bloggers hosted this competition on their blog...did you know it would turn into this? I know when I was young they used to run newspaper baby competitions which were a bit of fun and nice, so do we just have to accept this is the new media and this is what happens 'these days' in the social media arena? If we do I think it is a very sad day and time we are living in.