Actually, Creating Keepsakes has a contest naming problem. Some might say that is just semantics, that it doesn’t matter what the contests are named. But the contests’ names are powerful marketing tools and messing them up can dilute the impact of your contests or even invite ridicule.
The two contests are Hall of Fame and Scrapbooker of the Year. The two are very different contests, both in history and in function. Hall of Fame is 10 years old; Scrapbooker of the Year was started in 2006. Hall of Fame chooses a group of winners (originally 25, the number was trimmed to 10 with the 2008 contest). Scrapbooker of the Year chooses only a single winner. Hall of Fame judging is intended to be done blind; The identity and marketability of Scrapbooker of the Year candidates are part of the judging process.
The contests’ prizes are very different as well. The Hall of Fame contest rewards a prize of cash and other prizes, but there is no guarantee of future publication or work from Creating Keepsakes beyond publication of a few of the winning layouts in the annual Hall of Fame book (although technically even that isn’t guaranteed).
Scrapbooker of the Year, on the other hand, awards a two year contract to the winner to work for Creating Keepsakes. For past winners, this has meant personal appearances and teaching obligations, as well as providing design content and a column for the magazine.
In the rest of the world of awards, Hall of Fame is a lifetime achievement award granted to very few people, and being something “of the year” is a less notable distinction. Based on this, Creating Keepsakes has its contest names backwards. Hall of Fame shouldn’t be the contest that is won by many people every year, many with no resumé and some who are never heard from again. “Scrapbooker of the Year” shouldn’t be the pinnacle of achievement award given to only one massively qualified person every year (and don’t get me started on what a misnomer it is that the Scrapbooker of the Year gets a two year contract).
The problem in Creating Keepsakes’ contest naming was made all the more apparent with the announcement of this year’s Scrapbooker of the Year finalists this week. Each year there are five finalists. This year they are:
If you pay any attention to Creating Keepsakes contests, plenty of these names are probably familiar to you. Deena West, Lea Lawson and Mou Saha were all winners of the controversial 2007 Hall of Fame contest. Mou Saha was also a finalist in the first Scrapbooker of the Year contest in 2006.
Saha’s online resumé – probably inadvertantly – points out the true absurdity of the contest names. What is featured as the highlight of her (extensive) career? It’s not her Hall of Fame win – an honor that has been accorded to 60 people in the last three years. She highlights her status as a non-winning finalist in the 2006 Scrapbooker of the Year contest, an honor given now to only 14 people (since it went to Saha twice) in the past three years.
I think that says it all – right from the mouth of one of the contestants and winners.
It’s time for Creating Keepsakes to overhaul their contest names, make them reflect the true purpose of the contests, and take the chance to leave the past behind at the same time.