Energy drink brand Vitaminwater has launched a contest with a $100,000 prize for a person who doesn’t use their smartphone for a year. Vitaminwater will select one person to take on the “scroll-free for a year” challenge after receiving applications until Jan. 8, 2019.
Folks can apply via Twitter or Instagram by sharing the contest with the hashtags #nophoneforayear and #contest. Applicants must also include a description of what they would do for the year without phone access.
Vitaminwater will pick the best application post based on several criteria — it’s not a random decision, so be sure to read what it’s looking for in the official rules if you intend to apply. You can see the types of posts people are already creating on Twitter here.
— vitaminwater® (@vitaminwater) December 11, 2018
Applicants must use a smartphone on a daily basis prior to entering (you can’t enter if you don’t own a phone) and must be 18-years-old and over. Vitaminwater also forbids those who use a smartphone for “work or other commitments.” It’s open to US residents only.
Both smartphones and tablets are prohibited during the contest, and even touching a smartphone (yours or another person’s) could result in disqualification. Laptops and smart home devices, like smart speakers, can still be used, however.
How does Vitaminwater verify the claim?
Vitaminwater is light on details regarding how it will monitor the potential winner’s phone usage during the year they undertake the challenge. Around January 22, Vitaminwater says it will reach out to the potential winner to do a background check. Presumably, this is to ensure they’ve been using their device regularly and that ditching it would not interfere with work.
The person will then sign the contract to participate and… well, it’s not clear what happens next. We don’t know if the person will be tracked or checked in some way; however, the rules do state that there will be “lie-detector test” at the end of the period.
Oh, and one more detail — if you can only go six months without touching a phone, but have otherwise met all the criteria, you’ll receive $10,000 instead of the $100,000 total.
Could you go smartphone-free for a year?
The competition is based on a question that you may have asked yourself at some point. Smartphones are so ingrained in our lives now that the thought of giving them up seems like a mammoth task.
The thing is, there are ways you could get around the most challenging aspects of this. For example, there are numerous messaging services that work between laptop/desktop and smartphone now, so it wouldn’t mean your friends and family have to revert to a different system to contact you. Further, the rules state that a “1996-era cellular telephone” can be used for communication during the time, meaning you’re not necessarily in any greater danger (if you carry a smartphone for emergencies).
Considering this, and if you are to let all friends and family know you don’t have your smartphone for the period, it doesn’t seem like such a big ask. And $100,000 is a super prize.
You can view all the competition rules here and let me know in the comments what your thoughts on the challenge are.