James May under fire as Grand Tour star blasted for 'disappointing' and 'disingenuous' plea to fans: 'Respect people!'

James May under fire as Grand Tour star blasted for 'disappointing' and 'disingenuous' plea to fans: 'Respect people!'

WATCH HERE: James May asks followers to submit advert ideas for his gin brand

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 09/06/2024

- 15:50

Updated: 10/06/2024

- 13:08

The 61-year-old released a video to Instagram asking fans for help

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Former Top Gear and The Grand Tour star James May, 61, has angered several of his fans after releasing a video asking for help with his new gin company.

The presenter, who recently called time on one of his Amazon Prime Video shows, launched his alcoholic beverage brand last year and now has revealed it's time he began advertising.

However, in a video to his 1.7million Instagram followers, May has asked creatives to submit adverts of their own for him to use rather than pay "poncy" advertising agencies.

"I need your help," May said in the video. "You see, the James Gin business is now at that point in its evolution where people think I should go out and spend a huge amount of money on some poncy advertising and marketing agency to help promote my products.

"I don't want to do that because James Gin is the gin of the people and I'd rather save that money so I can offer the gin at a lower price.

"And this is where you come in. I want you to make the ads for me."

The Grand Tour

James May (left) stars in the Grand Tour with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond


May did offer payment of sorts, however, in the form of James Gin gifts.

He explained: "Your ad can feature any or any combination of the flavours currently available from James Gin. You can upload your work of genius using this link here.

"The creators of my 10 favourite ads will each receive a mystery James Gin gift box, but the creator of my favouritest favourite ad, in addition to that, will also receive a personalised gift from me."

Unfortunately for May, several responses to the competition weren't exactly upbeat, with a vast number slamming his decision not to pay professionals.

"I'm not in the business of helping millionaires. Don't know, just find that rather disingenuous," one fan criticised.

A second slammed: "This is so disappointing. They’re going to make money out of the drink, but won’t pay people who helped to promote it and put lots of time and effort to do it. Not cool."

Elsewhere, a third hit out: "Given how badly all the previous 'Do creative work for free!' 'competitions' have done in terms of PR, I'm amazed anyone thought this was a good idea. People need to be paid FAIRLY for their work, not fobbed off with 'prizes' that don't pay bills... If you want this to be the gin of the people, first respect the people."

"Please don’t work for free. And I love James," a fourth encouraged while another said: "Creators should be paid for their work. Gift of gin is a nice gesture but this undervalues the work."

Elsewhere a sixth fumed: "Sorry, this misses the mark. Let's see all the creative ideas for free, pick a few we like and give them a product further reducing the cost to the company."

And another complaint read: "Please pay fair market rates for the creative work you use James, not just dish out gimmicky celebrity gifts. The Creative industry isn’t just big 'poncy agencies' - there are lots of talented hardworking individuals and small companies, struggling with economic conditions, crappy AI creative alternatives etc."

James May

James May: Former Top Gear star's competition has been slammed by fans


However, there was some support for May's new initiative, including one followers who argued: "The creator will be famous times 10 more for what the actual payment for advertising you'll never know.

"This is voluntary so if have spare time will maybe it's worth trying."

And a second similarly praised the idea: "What a bloke. Imma go work for some gin now."

GB News has contacted May's representatives for comment on the backlash.

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