Did Gillette give a £5000 prize to a stolen photo?

Last year I shared details of the Gillette Venus #WhateverWeather competition on the Super Lucky Facebook page. To enter this competition you had to “share a picture capturing your moment of living life to the full – whatever the weather”. The prize was a £4000 holiday of the winner’s choice, plus £1000 spending money.

Considering the competition closed on 31st December 2014, Gillette took a long time to announce the winner on their Facebook page. Finally last Wednesday the winning photograph was posted, with no mention of the winner’s name.

Entrant Roz had sent off for a winner’s list though, which lists the winner as Jette Helsinki, a designer and illustrator (real name Ana Iugulescu).

Screenshot 2015-03-11 13.41.03

As you can see, it’s a great photo and deserving winner. Except – it’s not Jette’s photo, nor is Jette the girl in the photo. The photo was taken by Carmi (or MCT Garcia) in 2010, is a photo of her sister Ezra, and can be found on her blog along with a copyright watermark:


Here are a few quotes from the official competition terms and conditions:

The Promotion requires a photo of you being uploaded, it must be a photo of you and nobody else, famous or otherwise.

(b) You should not upload:
I. Any content belonging to anybody else, such as material which contains trademarks and/or copyright protected material, any material broadcast on TV or Radio, or any other material that does not belong to you;

Entrants also had to confirm before submitting a photograph:

III. I also confirm that I own the rights to the content I upload and that I am not using any content which infringes anybody else’s rights or that uses or depicts anybody else’s name, picture, video or brand name.

If Jette didn’t take the photograph or feature in the photograph, she is not eligible for the £5000 prize.  That’s what several fans have commented on the Gillette Venus UK page, but a week has passed with no response from Gillette. Why?

The terms and conditions seem to have been completely ignored by Gillette in awarding the prize to this ineligible winner. As with all photo competitions, promoters and agencies should know the first step is always to do a reverse Google Image Search on the entries to check if they are copyrighted. In 2013 Samsung awarded a £500 camera to a stolen image – and the original photographer wasn’t impressed when they found out!

A lot of entrants went out of their way to take lovely original and creative photos for this competition – and they deserve an answer. So come on Gillette, what’s the story?

(Thanks to all who posted their investigations on the Gillette Facebook post)


Gillette Venus commented on the Facebook post saying they are aware of the situation and are investigating, and Carmi commented too: I am the original owner of the photo shown above… it was used without my knowledge or permission. Please disqualify this photo from the competition and give the prize to someone who deserves it. Hopefully this matter can be resolved soon. “


Gillette annnounced a new winner, Claire! Hooray!

22 Responses

  1. Anna Warner says:

    usually the people running the competition will ask you for a full res version of the image or other photos taken on the same shoot. I have had problems before because someone accused me of cheating with a photo of my own daughter (as they had seen it on another site!) so you do have to have your facts straight – well spotted on this one. The company should make more checks before it announces winners

  2. Chay Hawes says:

    Aside from the blatant theft of the photo by the “winner” and the lack of even rudimentary checking in reverse image search by Gillette, there is a fundamental flaw with the competition anyway.

    The terms state “it must be a photo of you” but also that “you should not upload any material that doesn’t belong to you”. So technically the only valid entries are selfies, or cases where the photographer has specifically signed over the rights to the image to the person in the photograph. The copyright of a photograph belongs to the photographer from the moment they click the shutter (some people seem to think that a photo has to be “copyrighted” in some magical process by putting “copyright” on the image. This isn’t the case.) Copyright belongs to the photographer (not the subject of the photo) at the moment of creation and remains with them unless they waive rights or sign them over to somebody

    It’s bizarre because apart from in the case of selfies which are “by you” and “of you”, in any other case the subject of the photo can win the prize but the person who took it cannot, which seems strange to me. – you wouldn’t have a portrait contest in which the subject of the portrait wins a prize but the artist does not – this is the exact same thing.

  3. Kerry Brearley says:

    Ooh well done Di, result! Hope they announce a more deserving winner now, some recognisable names in the runners up, good luck ladies x

  4. Carmi Garcia says:

    Hi Di. Thank you for alerting me about this issue. I have contacted Gillette Venus UK through their Facebook (where they posted the winner) and I hope that they will take action soon.

  5. Helen Humphries says:

    The fact it’s a copy righted image too 😮 They have now commented on the page that they are looking into the matter but from what everyone is saying it is really easy to at least do a reverse check for images so at best it seems really niave of companies to not even do some basic checks? Great spot everyone!

  6. Kellie Faggle says:

    What a mess!!! Gutted I missed this one……………………..

  7. Juicy Lucy says:

    I wonder if the owner is aware. I’d be surprised if she doesn’t know.

  8. hannonle says:

    That red dress one looks vaguely familiar but I’m not making any accusations. It could be completely genuine, it just struck me as feeling like I’ve seen it before. They could have published it as a ‘look at what we’ve received so far’ though, or it could be a homage to another picture. Or I could be completely mistaken. I wish the winners would just comment on the page.

  9. Oh dear. People will steal images even when they are copyrighted. In this case I hope the owner of the image claims that money from Jetti as she stole an image and profited from it.

  10. Jacqueline Roberts says:

    My friends a photographer and if someone used his work like this he would not accept any prize as he sees his work as art HIS art. I think the prize should be stripped.

  11. Yikes. The lengths some go to to win a prize. You’d think.if they actually wanted to win enough they would work hard on their own original entries

  12. Ali Thorpe says:

    Of all the ways people may cheat when entering competitions, this one absolutely drives me nuts. I remember watching someone on Facebook describe their previous evening, at which they stated they had taken a photo they were entering into a competition, when it was an old stock photo that could be found all over the internet. Whenever there are photo competitions I wish to enter, I end up checking the background of entries I find suspicious (many of which DO turn out to belong to someone else) and I find it frustrating and disheartening that some promoters aren’t proactive in this sense too.

  13. Tony Johnson says:

    it seems to me that if gillette has announced this photo as the winner, then they owe a prize of £4000 holiday and £1000 to the owner. they picked that photo as the winner not the entrant, so i am guessing legally they must pay the owner. gillette have breached copyright rules and i presume have a copyright claim against them. be sure though that the ASA won’t do anything. they have no powers, as i have found many times. I’m sure gillette don’t care. these corporations never do. just don’t buy their products.

  14. sandy port says:

    Bit naughty that they’ve listed one runner up as ‘Emma’ they are meant to state full name according to the ASA guidelines

  15. lynn savage says:

    Thanks for blogging this Di. I contacted Carmi a few days ago detailing what has happened with links, but she hasn’t responded yet. If she does respond I’ll let you know.

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