Coffee chain postpones art contest with gift certificates as prize

March 12, 2019 - 3:31 PM
CBTL interior
An interior of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf cafe. (Flickr/Wei-Te Wong)

A popular coffee chain indefinitely postponed their art contest after social media users slammed their guidelines that offers winning artists gift certificates instead of monetary reward in exchange for their original works.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Philippines announced that they have suspended the Klean Kanteen Contest following the comments that surfaced online, particularly from the creative community.

“Your comments and suggestions on our latest contest have been heard,” part of their statement reads.

“We created this initiative, like the many we have done in the past, to involve our community members in programs where their various talents are discovered and celebrated. We have decided to postpone this activity for the time being,” the coffee chain added.

In an online interview with Interaksyon, CBTL Philippines associate brand manager Kimberly Cruz said that they have indefinitely postponed the contest “to clarify technical concerns that were raised.”

The coffee chain on March 7, Thursday launched the Klean Kanteen Contest that aimed to provide artists a platform to feature their talents in merchandise.

Hobbyists, amateurs and professional artists were encouraged to join with the general guideline that their artworks must “show off the wonders of the Philippines” until April 7, 2019.

Winning entries needed to be submitted in raw file (either in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop) and it would automatically be owned by the coffee chain. The artists would receive P5,000 worth of gift certificates as a reward.

Furthermore, their artworks would be acknowledged in various ways, Cruz said.

The artists will receive a customized sleeve with a short write-up of the artwork, their names and signatures would be on the merchandise and they will be featured in the coffee chain’s social media accounts, among others.

What artists are saying 

While the coffee chain meant to provide a platform for creatives to showcase their talent, some social media users — particularly from the local creative community — slammed some of the contest’s guidelines.

“CBTL is a ‘contest’ that disrespects artists. They want you to submit art that they will completely own, reprint, and sell. You will win P5000 worth of GIFT CERTIFICATES ONLY. They’ve been deleting comments that call them out,” a concerned Information Design graduate wrote.

“Hey CBTL, we can’t use your stupid GCs to pay for the electricity we’ll need to submit entries to your stupid contest,” she added.

An illustrator and creative director called it a case of a “capitalist trap” and accused the coffee chain of exploiting artists.

The coffee chain’s associate brand manager explained that what their contest “wanted to achieve was to celebrate and recognize local talents in a format that they can be proud of,” Cruz said.

“Many of our community members in the past have shared that the activities we have organized for them to showcase their talents had opened up many other opportunities,” she added.

The artworks would “only be printed and sold in limited quantities in a short period of time,” Cruz shared.

It was not the first time that the local creative community has called out clients for issues involving compensations.

An artist in January 2019 shared that a supposed social media influencer offered to give him a “shoutout” as payment for creating a full-size portrait sketch.

Actor Jameson Blake in July 2018 also asked for an artist to make him a cover photo in exchange for exposure. Creatives heavily condemned him for undervaluing the time and effort invested to produce artworks.