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First, it sent Pitbull to the far reaches of Alaska. Now, the mischief-making hivemind of the internet wants to use a business promotion to throw a Taylor Swift concert at a school for deaf children.
Papa John’s pizza is currently running a contest that will reward the school with the highest number of votes with a performance by the young country pop star. They probably didn’t expect the users of 4chan, reddit and other web communities to hijack the contest and catapult the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Allston, Massachusetts to the top of the leaderboard, but there it is, with over 6200 votes.
Now, there are a number of technicalities in the contest that could cost the Horace Mann students their concert. To compensate for differences in school populations, the company running the contest, Chegg, is dividing the vote tallies by different numbers, from one to six. And there are extra bonus votes available to those that Like other sponsor pages, and download songs. But, at the very least, they cannot cancel the whole thing; the concert, which will take place around October 15, is scheduled to air on VH1 on November 11.
The moral of the story? It is becoming clear that this age of two-way communication is going to cause marketing officials to think a little bit harder when it comes to celebrity promotions. Thanks to a Wal-Mart contest that offered an appearance by the R&B singer to the store with the highest number of Likes on Facebook, Pitbull ended up in Kodiak, Alaska (and to be fair, he embraced the situation with good humor). Whereas before, celebrities could endorse products with little-to-no feedback, there now seems to be a price to pay if web users smell something awry with their paid association.
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