Perhaps taking a "page" from the Obama campaign, Moleskine generated a PR firestorm when it launched a crowdsourcing contest for designers to create the company's new blog logo, and the company's response only fanned the flames.
The notebook and sketchbook company’s contest, launched on Oct. 12 with partner with Designboom, was met by strong opposition in the form of designer blog posts and comments on Moleskine's Facebook page decrying the company for abusing the designer community and asking them to work for free.
As negative comments stockpiled on Moleskine’s Facebook page—“It is not a contest if it takes days of work to be eligible,” said one post—the company addressed its critics defensively on Oct. 21 with a Facebook post of its own.
“If you had spent some time on the ‘Competitions’ area of Designboom Web site, you certainly have seen that other brands are running and previously decided to run similar contests,” said the post. “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 take part to it.”
The post itself generated over 200 mostly negative comments in just under four hours. “This is shocking, a brand like yourselves with such a core customer base of designers should know better. If you need a new logo, hire a designer to do it,” said one commenter.
Moleskine now finds itself at odds with a community it depends on for sales. Its first response—which came nine days after the contest's launch—has made things worse, and now the company must now try and make amends with the same people it had hoped to serve.