Using the Crowd as a source for ideas isn’t new, but none the less Kraft, the makers of Vegemite (an Australian version of Marmite) launched a campaign to crowd-source the new name for a Vegemite variant made with cheese. They received 48,000 ideas, which was fantastic. Mission accomplished!
But they then somehow, out of all of those ideas, chose iSnack 2.0. This was back in 2008 when the World was falling into love with the iPhone and iPod and web 2.0 was all the rage so presumably the Marketing guys saw something in this name?
The public didn’t. They hated it! Thousands of complaints and comments ridiculing the name popped-up across all the media channels. A Facebook poll asking what people thought of iSnack2.0 had over 20,000 responses of which 97% hated the name.
Bowing to significant pressure from consumers, they promptly abandoned the iSnack name, admitting that it ‘may have been’ a mistake.
To rescue the situation they did the job properly and launched a new campaign by opening a new poll on its website, this time using the Crowd to also ‘sift’ the ideas. They offered six possible names for the product, half of which were the most popular names from the original poll, as well as three others that Kraft considered “worthy of consideration based on consumer feedback”.
Voters in the poll were able to indicate a seventh option of not liking any of the suggested names. The final name was announced as “Vegemite Cheesybite” (which was a variant of an idea from the original poll) with Kraft claiming that it had received 36% of the 30,357 votes that were cast for a name option, or approximately 10,900 votes.(It was however later revealed that around 10,000 votes (33%) were registered for the “none of the names” option)
The lesson here is that if you are going to look outside your organisation to crowd-source ideas, if you don’t then trust the crowd to help you choose the best idea as well then the backlash can be ferocious!