Co-Creating with Consumers Puts a Sparkle in a Soft Drinks Brand

Published Aug-04-13

A crowdsourcing competition to rename and redesign the label of a popular soft drink demonstrates the potential of co-creating with consumers.

PepsiCo, United States

The Story:

Co-Creating with Consumers Puts a Sparkle in a Soft Drinks Brand Product naming, labeling and package designing competitions are all the rage and a fun way for consumer-facing companies to engage their customers and attract some new ones. The rules are simple, participation is easy and companies can profit from increased exposure. The contests also demonstrate how businesses can co-create and work with their communities, specifically those that are online and using social media.

Although many of these product-naming crowdsourced initiatives are really just dressed up suggestion boxes with prizes for the most appealing submissions, they do illustrate the potential power of the crowd, and the benefits of working with external sources of knowledge.

Working with the Crowd

Through these simple exercises companies can see:

How quickly loyal followers can be engaged
How once a seed has been sewn online communities will ideate, discuss and debate among themselves, pushing the best ideas to the top

This is a model that can also be applied to much deeper challenges that a company faces. Of course having thousands of members of the public weigh in on some of the more technical issues may be counterproductive. The trick is to find experts/expert communities that can be motivated and incentivized to problem solve.

An ever increasing number of companies are engaging their online communities, particularly through social media. One of those is PepsiCo with several of its well-known brands.

What’s in a Name?

Since 2007 its Mountain Dew brand has been running the DEWmocracy program, allowing fans to select new flavors, packaging graphics, names, advertisements, and more for its upcoming products.

One of its popular crowdsourcing competitions was the 2012 Regional Malt Dew Contest. In that year, Mountain Dew had released the first batch of a new malt-flavored DEW drink called Johnson City Gold. In 2013, they released a second batch which they wanted fans to rename and redesign the packaging to reflect their local regions.

Six North American regions were represented: the northeast, the south, the Great Plains, the great lakes, southwest, and northwest.

The contest had two parts: in the naming phase of the competition fans could submit and vote on their favorite name. During the next phase they could design and vote for the labels.

There were two ways that fans could submit designs. They could use the contest site’s ‘design editor’ which allowed a label be created from a set of existing type fonts, logos, or designs. Or they could use the blank slate template and submit their own version from scratch.

Fan-Created Names and Designs

The six winning names were:

Gold Mountain Malt (for the northwest)
Miner’s Malt (for the southwest)
Great Plains Gold (for the Great Plains)
Rusted Malt (for the great lakes)
Southern Gold (for the south)
Liberty Malt (for the northwest)

Among the design features on the canned drinks were the Statue of Liberty, a tractor, and a large anvil.

Prizes and Publicity

The winning finalists received a suite of prizes, Mountain Dew was given a new look, and the brand generated acres of publicity.

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