Opinion

Crowdsourcing: iSnack2.0

Anyone who has had anything to do with naming – and I mean anything – ever, could tell you that iSnack2.0 is a terrible name. Awful. Abysmal. A professional would never have let that out of their head let alone out the door and onto the client’s desk. But the short-lived name for Vegemite’s brand extension last year is a great example of what happens when you outsource creativity to amateurs.

And if you want more evidence, revel in the choice that replaced it by popular vote: Cheesybite. No, really.

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Crowdsourcing is increasingly popular and in economic recession it is easy to see the appeal. You can imagine the marketers’ thought process: instead of spending their hard won marketing budget on professional advice, stick out a brief to the general public and see what comes back. Offer a nominal fee in the form of a “prize” for the best suggestion and, hey presto, all but free creative. In addition to which you potentially get loads of PR, if you play your cards right, and you generate a serious level of brand engagement that makes you look savvy to your bosses and the digital generation.

In some instances it works. Doritos has been at it for several years and has created a great buzz around its Superbowl slots. It makes the brand look edgy and cool. It has done so well it has increased its exposure and the scale of the top prize, now £200,000.  Contrast that with The Oxo Factor. It was bad beyond description.

The news that the venerated Unilever has decided to crowdsource video content for 13 global brands including Lynx, Ben & Jerry’s, Sure, Surf and Comfort makes me uncomfortable. The company says that contrary to the usual flood of submissions, it expects only a few hundred.

One of the main drawbacks of crowdsourcing is that you may drown in a tsunami of s#1t.

Professionals contemplate, craft, consider and create.  I am not suggesting that only professional creatives are creative, but how likely is Joe Public to have come up with anything as campaignable, with as much longevity as the Peperami animal? Now that such a beast exists it is relatively easy for amateurs to come up with new executions of it.

Just recently news broke that Molson Coors has developed a new beer aimed at women and that it was asking consumers to name it. I strongly suggest that rather than asking the masses and running the risk of another nasty cheesy name like Cheesybite coming to light, it seek advice from the pros.

By Martin Grimer, Executive Creative Director at Blue Marlin