Glenn's Web Factory

Friday, December 02, 2005

Virgin's "Exercise Your Music Muscle" Challenge

Recently Virgin launched a campaign called "Exercise Your Music Muscle".

The challenge is to examine a picture and name up to 74 bands whose names are represented within. There are quite a few very obvious ones ("Rolling Stones", "Queen", "Sex Pistols", "Smashing Pumpkins", etc.) but some are less literal. In fact, the possible solution space (the names of all bands) is so large, I'm sure one could take time and name well over 500 bands!

It seems the "contest" is just to be able to name a single band "correctly" which enters you into a drawing for the prizes. This is rather lame. In fact, readers of this blog already have 4 answers that are certain to be "correct"!

But before chiding Virgin too much, how else could they really hope to fairly administer a contest such as this? Should they just enter into the drawing the much smaller group of people to answer the 74 bands "correctly"? Should they simply award prizes as people submit "correct" answers in the order they are received?

Web-based collaboration aids in solving difficult problems, and contests are absolutely fair game. A flickr page is dedicated to solving this challenge, and they already have something like 81 bands identified.

Administering web contests is very difficult. When there are prizes involved, people seek ways to exploit the contest to their advantage against the "spirit" of the contest. It would seem the "spirit" of this challenge is to see how many bands an individual can name by examining the picture, not to see how adept one is at searching for the answers with Google!

Of course the real objective with a campaign like this is to promote a brand, and Virgin has succeeded in doing so. The more people are talking about it (this blog entry included!), the more successful it has become.

So, while administering web-based contests is difficult, sometimes it simply doesn't matter.


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