It takes a LOT to embarrass me, but the Genghis Grill Health Kwest has done it to me (and countless others).
Merriam-Webster defines embarrass as follows: “to make (someone) feel confused and foolish in front of other people; to make (a person…) look foolish in public.”
As I mentioned in a previous post, I thought this contest would be a fun way to lose weight and make my social media skills shine. Instead, I feel foolish for ever having participated in it in the first place. It’s amazing what people will put up with (or do) when the possibility of winning $10,000 is dangled in front of them.
Here’s what I’m embarrassed about.
I am embarrassed to be associated with an organization that rewards people who use diuretics, stimulants and dehydration to lose ~80 pounds (25% of his body weight) in 60 days, all while calling the contest a HEALTH Kwest. This year’s winner admitted doing so in his own blog posts, many of which have been deleted. When I shared screen captures of his admissions, those running the contest chose to do nothing about it. (Oh, and last year’s winner wrote about eating 300-800 calories a day during the contest to lose weight.)
I am embarrassed that I asked anyone to help me via YouTube views and Facebook likes and shares to spread news of this contest.
I am embarrassed that I asked students at several universities to help me write headlines in “Upworthy style” to entice people to watch my video I made for Genghis Grill.
I am embarrassed that I had forgotten one of the more important rules about sharing sponsored content in social media by disclosing that I was being compensated by Genghis Grill. I corrected this mid-course, but still, I should have known better.
I am embarrassed that I allowed myself to #ShillfortheGrill (as one of my fellow contestants called it) for the mere price of a bowl of food a day. Had I spent a similar amount of time writing creative content for a client, odds are good I would have been compensated much more than a few dollars a day.
I am embarrassed that I did not withdraw myself from the contest earlier. Once I was told by those running the contest that everything we were being asked to do was perfectly ethical and didn’t break any rules, terms of service or FTC guidelines, I should have stepped out then as I knew this wasn’t the case. Somehow, I kept thinking that things would get better and those running the contest would take my advice to make needed changes. It never happened.
I am sorry.