Jetstar, Powderfinger to exploit fan’s enthusiasm

Australian airline Jetstar and the managers of rock band Powderfinger seem to think that waving the magic word “social media” means free labour. Exploitative cunts.

As mUmBRELLA reported:

Jetstar is continuing its drive into social media, funding an official blogger on Powderfinger’s farewell tour which is sponsored by the budget airline.

According to Jetstar: “Over 50 days, Jetstar’s official tour blogger will ‘Follow the Finger’ and produce daily blogs, video diaries, fan photos and Twitter updates. They will interview the band and support acts, interact with fans and locals and become a member of the tour support team.”

As well as covering travel and accommodation, the blogger will receive an allowance of $100 a day.


So in other words, for more than a month and a half, the “winner” of the “competition” will work as a writer covering the tour — call it journalism or blogging or whatever you like, it’s all the same thing. They’ll work as a producer, curating fan photos. They work as a PR assistant and “interact with fans and locals and become a member of the tour support team”. That’s a whole bunch of different media skills, a pretty special person indeed.

In return they get paid less than the legislated minimum wage.

The federal minimum wage is currently $15.00 per hour or $569.90 per 38 hour week (before tax).

Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 21 per cent casual loading.

I reckon “become a member of the tour support team” sounds like an offer of employment, yeah?

“Jetstar has been making a growing investment in social media,” says mUmBRELLA, but clearly not enough to pay a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.

Maybe Jetstar should try telling the roadies they’ll also get $100 a day “allowance” in return for the privilege of seeing all 34 concerts. To their faces. And I’ll sit back and watch…

Please insert a final angry sentence that includes the words “exploitation”, “unethical” and “pond slime”. And on Monday I’ll be phoning Fair Work Australia for an opinion.

Rock on.

Unless, of course, Jetstar get in touch before then to tell me they’ve decided to pay the winner the proper MEAA rate for freelance writers [PDF].

11 Replies to “Jetstar, Powderfinger to exploit fan’s enthusiasm”

  1. It’ll be fascinating to see what FWA think of this and whether it equates to a contract for hire. I suspect your conclusions are right, and it is. In which case Jetstar and the promoters get what they deserve.

    The dark side (well, one of many dark corners) of the social/crowd revolution is that many ideas, like this one are triggered half-cocked. So too, many agencies and brands seem to believe that labor in the social sphere can be obtained at near-zero cost. So, for example, I find the many ads for “pro” bloggers at cents or small dollars per post deeply offensive. This seems akin to such things, on first blush.

    Emerging practice and all does not excuse organisations from paying a fair wage. The various parts of the social media “industry” (I feel I need a shower for saying g that, despite being a part of said industry) need to clue up. Crowdsourcing does not mean free or underpaid labor, no matter how cool the job might seem.

  2. It’s even worse than I thought. Have a squizz at the terms and conditions. Under “Prizes” it says…

      a cash payment of $100 per day to cover meals and expenses when on tour.

    … so you don’t even get a sub-minimum-wage wage, you don’t get paid at all.


    28. Throughout the tour, the winner is expected to behave in a manner that reflects the promoter’s [that is, Jetstar’s] core principles and values. Failure to act in such a way may, at the Promoter’s sole discretion, lead to the winner forfeiting the remainder of the prize.

    29. Pursuant to instructions given by the Promoter [that is, Jetstar can order you to do stuff], the winner may be responsible for:

    • producing daily blogs, video diaries and twitter updates;
    • the onsite delivery of various ticket giveaways, conducting fan activities and consumer promotions; and
    • conducting media interviews with Powderfinger, support acts and fans.


    33. The winner will be given exclusive Jetstar apparel, which he or she will be required to wear whenever he or she is participating in any official Powderfinger Sunsets Farewell Tour activities or participating in any Jetstar event (as requested by a Jetstar representatives).

    Let’s be very, very clear here. Your “prize” is to be an unpaid marketing assistant for Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd.

  3. I can’t imagine what sort of quality they’re expecting from someone who is able to drop their entire life for 7 weeks to be able to do this. Generally people with the skills set they’re looking for are otherwise employed…for much more money.

  4. @Stephen Collins: I also wonder if there’s another issue here. Jetstar states the total prize value as $20,000, based on the full retail price of the concerts, travel and accommodation. But they don’t deduct the effective retail cost of the work the winner is doing for them, neither the standard labour stuff nor the modelling fee for having their likeness used for commercial advertising. Misleading, perhaps?

    @Matthew Hatton: Actually there’s plenty of good young media people out there looking for work. It just galls me that a major business like an airline could be so cheap-arsed as to exploit someone in this way.

  5. Well, if you “buy” into the Crowdsource hype of #SMEG — normally concert content is created by the fans, for the fans.

    In this version of “crowdsourcing”, you get to go along with the band, maybe put-out & get $100 to buy dope for the roadies.

    Isn’t this the pipe dream of #SMEG?

    Awesome coverage and content with little to no effort?

    “Experts” working for agencies getting their Eastern suburbs big $ having presented some smarmy Keynote presentation of the potential…

    … oh, I haven’t had my tablets yet today

  6. … and the tragedy is that there will be some enthusiastic good looking Powderfinger desperate out there who will be willing to do this for their 15 minutes of fame, then they’ll realised that they are being bent over backwards and right royally rogered by Jetstar for the remaining 50 days.

    Yet again Jetstar proves to be a crappy airline as well as employer, no exploiter. That’s another reason why I never fly with them.

  7. The Journalists Published Media Award 2010 provides for a 25% casual loading, minimum engagement of 3.75 hours. A first year cadet journalist receives $434.52- 60% of the Level 1 wage ($724.20). Add a 25% loading and you come to $543.15 for 38 hours work.

    However if you go by the Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award 2010 there is a 25% casual loading, minimum of 4 hour engagement. There is an interesting section on cadets too- basically they are supervised. Anyhow, they would be classified at grade 8- $724.20 with similar calculations as above. The main difference is if they are an adult employee they will be paid no less than $569.90. Add on a 25% casual loading and it starts to add up. Plus there are glasses/lenses allowances for journalists!

    I would be interested to hear what FWA had to say to you!

  8. Jetstar has responded over at mUmBRELLA (comment 15):

    The intent of the competition, and it is a competition, was to try and make it something a bit more interesting than win a pair of tickets to see the band at Rod Laver arena.

    It is purely a chance for someone who wants the chance to tour with the band, the chance to do just that. And I think providing that prize is quite a good thing.

    We don’t actually need written content on the tour, (there will be huge amounts of content on the tour), which I think is the key to calling us exploitative. We just wanted to create the most amazing experience and prize we could, and travelling with the band to every single event seemed to be that.

    And for the record, I’d like to start a worldwide ban on inappropriate use of the smiley face. It doesn’t excuse whatever is written before it. 🙂

    Dave May
    Head Of Marketing & PR

    My response:

    But Dave, that’s not what it says in the terms and conditions. As I said over here. If you “don’t actually need written content on the tour”, why put in the T&Cs a clause which says you can demand it?

    I was always taught to ignore what the top-level PR says and read the fine print, and here the fine print says the “winner” is subject to Jetstar’s orders and wears your uniform.

    And that’s the nub of it. There’s a mis-match between what the promotion says and what it says in the actual fine print. I reckon if Jetstar were being genuine about it being a prize then they wouldn’t have reserved all those rights to control the winner.

  9. I should also mention that I’ve been working on articles to deadlines since the weekend and haven’t had a chance to chase up Fair Work Australia. I should get time tomorrow.

  10. I’m not thrilled about Clause 13

    “13. As a condition of entering into this promotion, each entrant grants to the Promoter a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, world-wide license to use their entry in any media (including banners, signage, posters, television, magazine, Internet, MMS, DVD or other digital or print formats) for an unlimited time for any purpose, including but not limited to publishing the entries on the Promoter’s website, promoting future promotions and competitions of a similar nature, and whether or not in connection with the Promoter’s promotions, advertising or marketing.”

    So basically (unless I’ve got this wrong) you’re giving them your entry whether you win or not, and they can do whatever they like with it with nothing to you for its use in any way.

    This is a feature I’ve noticed on many other “design this for us” so-called competitions, which is why I’ve never thought about entering any of them…if they want any work out of me they can pay for it at a professional rate.

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