Good or bad, it is a design competition under the Core77 "Design Competitions" topic. And there have always been middle men in design competitions, usually agencies. This is the net age and I see nothing majorly different about what Desall is doing versus every other design competition I have seen in my career.
All design competitions theoretically suck. Just as any other contest that would pit professionals against each other for limited set of rewards.
Desall, get your clients to up the ante, seriously. For example Chicco has a huge turnover. One of their competitor companies I know of has over a 25 million dollar a year design budget. Illy can afford it also unless it is just a social media experiment for them. The prize should be a minimum of 25,000 Euros, and if you really want to make it interesting and pull in a high caliber or work, make it 80,000 Euros,(edited from 250K, it is just a clock after all) I will then join your competition, so might many other professionals. For a 2,500 Euros prize, your client is guaranteed amateur input.
There is a price for design and there is a price for risk. Establishing the expectation standard that design costs money and risk is rewarded is a whole 'king lot more interesting than social media contests for kids.
wikipedia wrote:Illycaffè is an Italian coffee roasting company that specializes on the production of espresso. The company was founded by Francesco Illy in 1933 and was later led and expanded by his son Ernesto Illy. Today, Andrea Illy is President and CEO, representing the third generation of family leadership. The company has more than 800 employees and reached a gross revenue of 361 million euro in 2012. Illy produces only one blend in three roast variations: normal, dark roast, and decaffeinated. The blend is packaged as whole beans, pre-ground coffee, E.S.E. pods, or iperEspresso Capsules.