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Posts Tagged ‘Crowdsourcing’

Why Lay’s Wants to Quit Social Media and Hates America

lays flavor

This may give you an idea. 

Last year, Lay’s potato chips introduced America to a cool concept called “Do Us a Flavor.” This crowdsourcing experiment took place over the wonder of social media. It was incredibly popular and Frito-Lay thought they created the genesis of social media marketing.

In fact, according to this story from ABC News, the winning flavor Cheesy Garlic Bread (and uh, meh) beat out finalists Chicken & Waffles and Sriracha drew more than one million votes on Facebook and Twitter and nearly 3.8 million consumer-generated flavors. Good times, right? Time for Round 2, right?

Yeah, not so much. At least for Frito-Lay. For the rest of us ne’er-do-well, social media misfits, it’s the stuff of legend.

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The ‘Real’ Dunder Mifflin Crowdsources Its Super Bowl Spot

Dunder Mifflin paper productsWe were too busy being kinda bored by the last few seasons of The Office to notice that Dunder Mifflin had become a real-life brand back in 2011 (OK, it was a product line, but still). This makes sense–once a fictional brand gets stuck in the public’s imagination, the next logical step is to make it a reality, right?

The company expanded its offerings in November, and this week brings news that Dunder Mifflin, in a brilliant PR move, plans to run a spot during the Super Bowl–and to create it via crowdsourcing.

Here’s the deal: fans of the show and/or brand must shoot, edit and pitch videos featuring the product line and one or more of its marketing messages and submit them to crowdsourcing site Tongal. Producers of The Office will view all the finalists and choose a winner, who will receive a $15,000 prize and the personal satisfaction of viewing his or her own spot during the Super Bowl. (We  would mention that the ad will only run in the Scranton, Pennsylvania market, but that might kill the fun).

It’s a clever campaign–like we said, it made us aware of the brand for the first time, and we have a feeling the company will continue to promote the winning video well after the end of the fourth quarter.

By the way, we’re still waiting for someone to make George Costanza’s Vandelay Industries a reality. Get on it, people!

‘Boardwalk Empire’ Fan to HBO: Help Rebuild Atlantic City!

Fans of the well-dressed HBO drama “Boardwalk Empire” and its most important supporting actor, Atlantic City, may be upset by these striking photos of an iconic Jersey strip all but destroyed by yesterday’s storm (more footage here).

One particular viewer wants to see Atlantic City restored to its previous glory—and she’s decided to do something about it. Philadelphia resident (and presumed fan of conflicted gangsters) Hannah Sassaman launched a petition on last night “while watching ‘Boardwalk Empire’ as Hurricane Sandy moved past her own home.”

Sassaman’s plan: use crowdsourcing to convince the show’s cast and crew, as well as HBO higher-ups, to get involved in the recovery effort. There’s no doubt that Atlantic City will require millions of dollars to repair the damage done last night, and big names can certainly bring more attention to related fundraising drives; Sassaman says her effort was partly inspired by the surge in public advocacy that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Her letter, addressed to the show’s “producers, cast and crew”, reads:

“HBO has won huge acclaim and made millions with its captivating story about how Prohibition changed countless lives. With the horrible damage that Frankenstorm Sandy wreaked on the city’s businesses and homes, HBO can use its powerful media platform to raise money and support local, state, and federal relief efforts.

Please use the high profile of Boardwalk Empire’s writers, producers, and stars to raise money for Atlantic City at a time when it needs it so much.”

What do we think? Will Sassaman’s efforts help raise money for Atlantic City? And can the strip be rebuilt? We’d like to be optimistic: If HBO can build such a period-appropriate model of the boardwalk, then surely the city can, with time, return to its former glory (tackiness aside).

Final note: In case you need a little cheering up, here’s an Instagram’ed rainbow over Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. We never thought we’d write this, but thank you, Al Roker.

Kraft Learns About Risks in Crowdsourcing


“Crowdsourcing” has emerged as a popular trend for companies to have the public come up with everything from ad campaigns to slogans for their brands. There are numerous success stories of companies employing crowdsourcing – most recently Netflix completed an open competition to improve the algorithm for its recommendation system by ten percent. The prize was $1 million and the contest attracted tons of attention from software engineers and the press.

Kraft Foods, seeking a name for an updated version of Vegemite – a food spread popular in Australia – found itself in a less fortunate position. 48,000 potential names were submitted, and Kraft chose “iSnack 2.0,” which was submitted by Australian web developer as a joke. The problem? The name has nothing to do with the brand, and Vegemite fans hate the name, which has lead to the social media backlash and PR challenges which often result from these types of situations.

“The fact that the marketing communication will have to essentially explain the name (rather than the functional benefit), immediately prevents the brand from gaining any true emotional headway with the mass consumer who wasn’t familiar with the initial promotion,” said Richie Cruz, Digital Strategist for AgencyNet in a comment on Advertising Age‘s story.

Incidentally, Jeff Howe, the man who coined the term crowdsourcing, and wrote the book (literally) will be speaking at mediabistro’s upcoming User Generated Conference Expo (UGCX) in a few weeks. We’ll make sure to get his take on this latest crowdsourcing kerfluffle.