As millions of Americans struggle to pay for luxury treatments during the recession, some doctors and medical spas are offering incentives and discounts on coveted procedures such as Botox and other anti-aging treatments. However, a recent competition sponsored by Leonard Hair Transplant Associates in New England is stirring up some controversy on the ethics of offering free Botox treatments as a prize.
The company is sponsoring a contest for residents of Rhode Island and Massachusetts who have become unemployed, and is encouraging people to focus on improving their appearance to have a better chance in today’s competitive job market. Experts have already pointed out that looks and appearance play an important role in acquiring a new job or securing an existing one, and this contest is designed to help unemployed residents have a better chance at securing their next position.
Leonard Hair Transplant Associates is asking unemployed residents to submit a photo of themselves and a personal statement explaining why they feel they deserve to have a cosmetic procedure. The company plans to select 20 finalists, and then host a public voting session where local residents decide who will be awarded the mini-makeover. The company will be hosting the event as part of their own 20-year celebration.
Critics of the contest say that Botox giveaways and other similar contests are not necessarily an ethical way to stir up business and, according to The Plastic Surgery Channel, “offering cosmetic surgery as a contest prize disrupts the traditional relationship between doctors and patients.”
The free Botox contest is one of the first of its kind to include a public voting session to determine the winner. Other medical spas and clinics around the country have been offering free Botox sessions and running similar promotions, but the events are typically more private and may involve a raffle drawing or other type of competition to determine the winner.