New Pepsi ‘Dewmocracy’ Push Threatens to Crowd Out Shops

Source with compliments from http://adage.com/agencynews/article?article_id=140120

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — The trend of marketers relying on the wisdom of crowds to create marketing campaigns is escalating as PepsiCo turns over the choice of agencies for three product launches to the masses, ramping up the potential threat to ad shops bypassed or relegated to a supporting role in implementing the resulting efforts.

 

Consumers voted on the color they wanted for three new Dewmocracy products and then a paintball of that color was shot at volunteers. The volunteer covered with the most paint at the end won.
Consumers voted on the color they wanted for three new Dewmocracy products and then a paintball of that color was shot at volunteers. The volunteer covered with the most paint at the end won.

In a contest beginning this month, Mtn Dew will hand off marketing duties, at least temporarily, for a $100 million-plus business to several potentially unknown players selected by consumers. Via the contest, any agency, independent film company or individual can submit 12-second clips via www.12seconds.tv outlining their ideas for marketing three new Mtn Dew line extensions.

Those line extensions themselves were created by the crowd. Distortion, Whiteout and Typhoon are the latest results of Dewmocracy, an initiative designed to open up product development to consumers. Last year, the Dewmocracy brands accounted for 25 million cases — or a couple hundred million dollars, according to John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. By comparison, Coke Zero, a major growth engine and core brand for Coca-Cola, sold 96 million cases last year.

“It really is a good piece of business for a line extension, even in this big a category,” Mr. Sicher said.

When Dewmocracy launched in 2007, it involved an online game. This time around, Mtn Dew is using Facebook, Twitter and its private online Dew Labs Community to determine the flavor, color, packaging and names of the new products. Now, it’s also allowing consumers to select the agencies that will produce 15-second spots for each of the new flavors. Digital advertising and point-of-sale materials could also become a part of the mix. Once the flavors and advertising break in April 2010, consumers will vote to determine which flavor will become a permanent part of the Mtn Dew lineup.

Fate of BBDO
Mtn Dew is adamant that the new effort will not impact its relationship with agency of record BBDO Worldwide, noting that it has been a part of Dewmocracy from the beginning and continues to play an important role in the process. BBDO directed a call for comment to the client.

Brett O’Brien, Mtn Dew’s director-marketing, said that the broadcast spots created by the selected agencies will be supported by a “robust media plan,” noting that marketing is a key part of the Dewmocracy process.

“If we’re going to have a dialogue with consumers and have consumers play a role in dictating the future of our brand, they’ve got to play a role in all aspects of it,” said Mr. O’Brien of the decision to let consumers select agencies.

Crowd-sourcing is a growing phenomenon among major brands such as Unilever and Amazon. Frito-Lay’s Doritos brand has run three consecutive “Crash the Super Bowl” campaigns, which ask consumers to vote on their favorite consumer-generated spot. The latest contest offered a $1 million prize if the winner topped the USAToday ad poll, which it did. But while contests like that have been decidedly gimmicky, a more troubling trend for agencies is emerging. This fall, Unilever’s Peperami brand dismissed Lowe, London, in favor of running a contest to find TV and print ad ideas. Just this month, two former senior managers at Crispin Porter & Bogusky launched Victors & Spoils, billed as the world’s first creative agency built on crowd-sourcing principles.

“Most agency relationships, they’re still the brand steward. They understand the brand they’re working with at an almost molecular level,” said Chick Foxgrover, 4A’s chief information officer. “It’s unclear whether [crowd-sourcing] will be a trend that takes hold in a universal way or whether it’s more of an experiment. … In general, there’s a lot of experimentation going on in agency compensation. This fits into the context of that larger conversation.”

Outside perspective
Mr. O’Brien said the review will be promoted to indie agencies, indie film companies, universities and film schools, as well as via online messaging and word-of-mouth. BBDO handled advertising for the previous Dewmocracy product launches. This time, BBDO will work on an umbrella spot that explains the overall Dewmocracy program, while the selected agencies work independently on the launch creative.

“I don’t know … that they’ll bring something different — certainly they may have a different perspective,” Mr. O’Brien said about the prospect of using a smaller agency or a film company, rather than a large, traditional agency. “It lets us get an interesting and unique perspective on the brand from people that aren’t living and breathing it every day.”

Asked whether the agencies tapped for the product launches could pick up more Mtn Dew business, Mr. O’Brien said he didn’t know, adding that “it’s certainly TBD.” PepsiCo has worked with small agencies in the past, especially in the digital space, and recently tapped Interpublic Group of Cos. digital agency Huge to handle a piece of business for brand Pepsi.

Mtn Dew has been one of the few trademarks growing in the carbonated soft-drink space, with volume up 1% in the first half, as the overall category declined 2.7%, according to Beverage Digest.

“[Dewmocracy] contributes to our growth. … The Dew fan is excited about engaging with new offerings from Dew. But it also attracts new people into the Dew fan base that say, ‘hey, this is something really interesting, let me give it a try,'” explained Mr. O’Brien. “And retailers love it, because it’s interesting news that drives folks into the stores.”

When campaigns go to the crowds

Crowd-sourcing isn’t new, but it’s increasingly popular, with major brands turning to consumers to create marketing for all sorts of products.

AMAZON: The online retailer turned to consumers this year for TV concepts, eventually awarding $20,000 to the winner, a photographer based in Los Angeles.

CAREERBUILDER: In May, CareerBuilder dropped Wieden & Kennedy. That same month it began promoting the HireMyTvAd contest. The winning ad could be shown during the 2010 Super Bowl.

CHEVROLET: In 2006, a contest to create ads for the Chevy Tahoe resulted in anti-SUV spoofs, but it did garner plenty of attention.

DORITOS: For three years running, the Frito-Lay brand has run a “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign featuring consumer-generated ads.

HP: To promote its Artist Edition laptops, HP launched the You on You Project this summer. It asked consumers to upload videos or remix a commercial using stock footage.

PEPERAMI: The Unilever snack brand dismissed Lowe, London, earlier this year in favor of a crowd-sourcing strategy to find new ideas for TV and print.

 

The Scary Economics of Crowdsourcing

Sourced with compliments from: http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/connectedweb/2009/11/the_scary_economics_of_crowdso.php

One of the emerging phenomena associated with Web 2.0 — and one of the themes of the Enterprise 2.0 conference, which I’m here in San Francisco to attend today and tomorrow — is the notion of ‘crowdsourcing’. This is the use of the Web to find people to complete work projects through an open competitive auction process. Dion Hinchcliffe had a long post on its relevance to enterprise here on ebizQ a few weeks ago and as I read through and explored some of the links I started to find it all rather scary:

“… idea generation, design work, execution of business processes, testing services, and even customer support. All of these can now be connected, often programmatically, directly to a company’s supply chain … most companies have ready access to crowdsourcing across a wide set of functional areas, to the extent that it’s often the easiest thing for them to try before going the more expensive outsourcing route.”

What I found scary was the massive commoditization and deflation of costs that these crowdsourcing options were enabling. It’s now possible to go out and find brilliant designers working from Asia who will deliver high-quality creative work for a fraction of the price you’d pay your local design shop. Electronics manufacturers and games developers can tap the skills of teenagers as crowdsourced part-time helpdesk advisers. The systems are now sophisticated enough to make sure everyone gets paid a market rate for the work they put in, but those market rates are lowered by the global and fragmented scale of competition, in which anyone with the skills and available time can offer their services.

Wired magazine recently carried an article about a company that is harnessing crowdsourcing with automation and intelligent algorithms to build a multi-million dollar business. The Answer Factory: Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell has some very scary passages, such as:

“That’s not to say there isn’t any room for humans in Demand’s process. They just aren’t worth very much … It’s the online equivalent of day laborers waiting in front of Home Depot … Nearly every freelancer scrambles to load their assignment queue with titles they can produce quickly and with the least amount of effort — because pay for individual stories is so lousy, only a high-speed, high-volume approach will work. The average writer earns $15 per article for pieces that top out at a few hundred words, and the average filmmaker about $20 per clip, paid weekly via PayPal.”

If this is the future of work, it’s going to ruin quite a few people’s careers, even while it makes others. I don’t think it’s stoppable, and it’s going to be a scary ride.

Colleges Try ‘Crowdsourcing’ Help Desks to Save Money

Sourced with compliments from http://www.resourceshelf.com/2009/11/02/colleges-try-crowdsourcing-help-desks-to-save-money/

At Indiana University at Bloomington, good help is not hard to find, but it’s pricey. Questions to the 24-hour tech-support help desk cost the institution about $11.41 per phone call and $9.39 per e-mail message—and last year the help desk handled more than 150,000 inquiries.

All that advice adds up, and at peak times some in need of it are left waiting. So, in a few weeks, the university will try something different: letting computer users answer one another’s questions.

Information-technology people call this “crowdsourcing,” a buzzword that puts a positive spin on leaving the job of writing and editing to volunteers rather than hired experts. The idea is to open a Web site where students and professors can post their IT woes and share their solutions. College officials tell me they hope it will grow into a self-service support center for colleges nationwide—a kind of Wikipedia for campus computer problems.

Corporate Social Responsibility + Social Media = Promise of Transformation

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http://www.csrwire.com/csrlive/commentary_detail/1257-Corporate-Social-Responsibility-Social-Media-Promise-of-Transformation

“This is a world of transparency, openness, two-way dialogue with your constituents… I just think that’s part of the game today.” So said GE CEO Jeff Immelt in response to a question I posed to him, on how his company uses web 2.0 tools to engage with its stakeholders on sustainability issues, last week at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco (see it here – scroll to 23:15). “If you’re not willing to be completely transparent on just about everything you do, and if you can’t tolerate life in a world where you’re sharing information openly and getting input from lots of different people, where they have the ability to critique, criticize, have inputs… you better find a new profession,” he said.

I was there gathering material for a research fellowship I’m conducting with Marcy Murninghan and Bob Massie on web 2.0 and corporate accountability for the Harvard-Kennedy Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, with the Summit sandwiched between the JustMeans Social Media for Sustainability and the Business for Social Responsibility conferences. The week’s takeaways: web 2.0 holds great promise to transform the way companies engage with stakeholders, but we are still way early in the innovation curve on using web 2.0 to advance corporate sustainability and accountability!

That said, web 2.0 has already radically transformed conference power dynamics: gone is the one-way transmission of information from the stage that privileges presenters; now, thanks to Twitter and hashtags, the audience voices itself in a meta-dialogue transpiring in real-time during presentations. For example, we who followed the #justmeans hashtag throughout that conference participated in creating a steady stream of comments, criticisms, questions – and “distillations” that I characterized as a “subtle art,” sometimes capturing points better than they’re presented. Kudos to Natural Logic CEO Gil Friend for best distillation — of InnoCentive CEO Dwayne Spradlin: “Crowdsourcing vs outsourcing requires profound organizational change.”

Harnessing the power of crowdsourcing, “Getting the Message Out” panel moderator Chad Boettcher of Weber Shandwick projected the conference Twitter feed on the screen to display audience questions for Treehugger Founder Graham Hill, TriplePundit Co-Publisher Ryan Mickle, and JustMeans Managing Director Deb Berman. “I was really happy with this use of distributive technology,” said CSRwire Chair Joe Sibilia, who I ran into at both the JustMeans and BSR conferences.

Joe and I shared our concern about web 2.0 in the CSR space focusing exclusively on money-making opportunities, such as brand enhancement, to the distraction of more promising transformative opportunities, such as leveraging its connective power for movement-building. We agreed that the CSR-social media connection needs to balance its business case with its change agency.

Measuring financial or social return on investment remains elusive, however. In the “How to Calculate the ROI of Social Media” panel, “the panelists could not give one compelling business reason for the return on investment in using social networking tools,” said Joe. “Many of my colleagues are trying to measure the amount of time and effort to expend on this new technology, and that’s why we went. We left the meeting with an empty feeling about the content, with this question unanswered…”

The Power of the Human Jumbotron: A Lesson In Crowdsourcing

Sourced with compliments from http://sparxoo.com/2009/10/28/the-power-of-the-human-jumbotron-a-lesson-in-crowdsourcing/

When has the crowd been more exciting than the game? No, it’s not the wave, nor is it the “war paint” covering bare-chested men. It’s crowdsourcing: when everyone works collectively towards a single objective. Below there is a video of a soccer game where the power of the crowd created more compelling entertainment than the game itself:

Crowdsourcing has never been more apparent and pervasive than in the online world. Wikipedia is often the most cited example of crowdsourcing–as it has met extreme success since its inception in 2001. It has tapped into the collective knowledge of the world to create a comprehensive and awe-inspiring assortment of content.

To understand how more brands can incorporate crowdsourcing into their business model consider the following key characteristics that lead to successful crowdsourcing initiatives:

Set an objective — Before throwing in tons of money and time in to your project, what are you trying to create; who is going to get you there; and who is going to benefit? In Wikipedia’s case: create an online encyclopedia; those experts specialized in specific areas of study; all those with web access seeking more information knowledge in one site.

Rally the troops — When you tell 100 people you want to create a human jumbotron, they can get excited about it because 1) it’s unique and 2) it’s tangible. With two words, you can inspire and lay out a clearly defined objective.

Plan — A human jumbotron does not get up and running overnight. It takes time, training and planning to make a vision a reality. Consider Wikipedia, they have a solid foundation for which individuals can build an rich resource for information.

Work as a team — The human jumbotron exemplifies how no one person is of greater value than another. It is through the collective efforts of everyone that the human jumbotron was successful. If even one person was of greater value, it would dissolve the final outcome.

Have a pay-off — Sellaband is an example of a crowdsourcing website that has a financial pay-off for participants. Fans give money to their favorite bands so they can cut a record. Once the record is released, fans can even share a portion of the profits if the album is successful.

Leveraging the power of the crowds, even if it’s only to fact-check or spark a discussion on your blog, can be invaluable for your brand. Allowing users to participate in something greater than themselves is tremendously rewarding and the nature of the web as a connector and facilitator has made collaboration and crowdsourcing more possible than ever before.

Next trend in advertising: “crowdsourcing”

Sourced with compliments from

http://www.bizmology.com/2009/10/29/next-trend-in-advertising-crowdsourcing/

It is difficult to be completely original and innovative these days. As soon as you come up with that brilliant idea you think no one has ever experienced, it gets packaged to you via the latest “hilarious” YouTube clip, Twitter message, or personal blog post making the rounds. More than ever, newer technology is giving the masses a vociferous outlet for creativity — an outlet ad agencies are now ready to exploit.

It is called crowdsourcing, and it ushers in a bold new creative turn for agencies. The term refers to a collaborative effort of crowds (typically online) to generate ideas. Basically, the agencies will rely on the interplay and bouncing around of ideas by a group of people, while they monitor and guide the community through the creative process. The idea is to get more people involved in the development of new ideas. Think creative focus groups.

The new term emerges in the midst of what some of the major advertising conglomerates are deeming a period of recovery for the industry. As Advertising Age reports that commercial time on television networks is increasing (might football season have something to do with that?), Maurice Lévy, the CEO of mega agency Publicis Groupe predicted this week that “the advertising market is starting its recovery”, and his company would enjoy organic revenue growth during this time next year.

Crowd Control

Sourced with compliments from http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/agency/e3i26911e62ce1ee0f724c394f5d3d7d664

Crispin Porter + Bogusky recently ignited an online debate and protest campaign on Twitter when it crowdsourced the design of a product logo for Brammo, an electric motorcycle start-up. Criticism mostly focused on the high-end agency taking such a low-cost route, as well as its putting creative into the hands of outsiders when experts were not just available, but the very ones passing it off.

For Brammo, crowdsourcing was more than just a way to stretch its budget. “We wanted to blur the line between [who works for Brammo] and [our] products,” says Brian Wismann, the company’s director of product development. “And it created its own buzz.”

Crowdsourcing creative — which includes user-generated contests, and receiving input on briefs and designs — is an increasingly popular option for marketers that want to add a consumer-engagement punch to their campaigns. It’s also controversial. Detractors call it gimmicky, say it encourages low-quality creative, and eschews strategic thinking and relationship management. But love it or hate it, this much seems clear: Not only is crowdsourcing here to stay, it’s picking up steam.

HP, for one, recently doled out $300,000 in prizes for its You on You Project, which asked participants to create Web videos in the style of its campaign, “The computer is personal again.” And Microsoft, pushing the idea that its users contributed to the development of its Windows 7 operating system, is asking for 7-second video demos for a Web series highlighting its features. Gayle Troberman, gm for advertising and consumer engagement at Microsoft, says, “The masses are the best way to deliver a message.”

But ad professionals who view crowdsourcing as a gimmick say these exercises are nothing but sweepstakes for the digital era. And because they’re driven by a desire for consumer interaction, they note, they’re more about the process than the final product.

“I’m interested in the high end of marketing creativity and production, and don’t think you can get anything high end” with crowdsourcing, says Benjamin Palmer, co-founder of The Barbarian Group. “By definition you’re asking people [to contribute] who are not at the top of their field.”

Some, however, believe creative does not have to suffer. Last month, Unilever, after working with Lowe London for the past 15 years on Peperami, decided to turn the brief for its next campaign over to members of ideabounty.com. “We felt we could get … even better content by opening up the brief to more people than we would typically get from an agency or agency team,” says Matt Burgess, managing director at Unilever U.K. So far, he adds, they’ve received 1,200 submissions.

Others point to Frito-Lay’s Doritos consumer-generated ads for the Super Bowl — the last one of which topped the USA Today poll that many marketers use as a metric of game-day success — as an example of crowdsourcing that delivers if not quality creative, qualitative success.

Economic motivators may certainly help drive the growth of crowdsourcing. For a brand like Brammo — which gave $1,000 each to five winners of its contest — crowdsourcing meant the agency could provide a service the client might not otherwise have been able to afford.

Burgess says Unilever sees huge cost savings with crowdsourcing. Ideabounty, he explains, told them to “put up $10,000 … as the appropriate reward, which is well below what you would pay an agency for their idea.” Unilever will produce the winning idea with a production partner.

“We would not have done this just for commercial reasons alone,” Burgess adds. “It’s to get our advertising from good to great.”

Not everyone claims savings: Doritos’ director of marketing, Rudy Wilson, says, “At the end of the day, we’re spending money to get awareness of this program out. The money we’re saving is being repurposed.”

Steve Simpson, partner and creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, an agency whose clients include Doritos, HP and Netflix (which also has done consumer-generated content), says crowdsourcing is slowly maturing. “As crowdsourcing [grows] from being a gimmick, a big sloppy hug of Web 2.0 openness, the products and the process will become more professional,” he says. “The crudity of the pioneers will be scorned and the work will begin to show more finesse.”

A few ex-Crispin staffers are so confident in the wisdom of crowds that they’ve just launched Victors & Spoils, a shop based on the principles of crowdsourcing. On his blog, co-founder John Winsor describes the creative department as being staffed with traditional art directors and copywriters as well as “a global digital community.”

Of course, the more crowdsourcing grows in popularity, the more the “crowds” may demand more than a stack of cash for their contributions.

“Who knows how many of the ideas that don’t win prizes nonetheless influence a company’s thinking down the line — without payment to the contributors,” says Simpson. “Crowdsourcing is here to stay, but expect both parties to it to begin to cast a colder, more businesslike eye at the other.”