When consumer collaboration goes wonky

Every marketer who would not relinquish control and let their consumers design their next product, create their next ad or simply name a new product are saying “I TOLD YOU SO”. This week’s much publicised Vegemite isnack 2.0 disaster in Australia is making brand and marketing managers shake in their boots. Some months ago Vegemite invited the public as they did back in 1923 to name a new product. The problem is the best they could come up with was isnack 2.0. and Kraft the smart folks behind Vegemite went ahead anyway. The product has been on the shelves for a few months now and its not clear whether public outcry over the name or poor sales have prompted Kraft to push the re-set button on the product naming thing. With a new name to be announced shortly.

So, should Kraft have opted for such a consumer stunt or left the product naming to the experts? Truth is there is always a risk. Sometimes the consumer name selected especially if consumers are given the opportunity to vote on the name can be a bit of a lame duck. I recall Changi Airport in Singapore invited Singaporeans to name the new low-cost terminal, and surprise, surprise the winning name was BUDGET TERMINAL. Contests which make a lot of noise to involve consumers can be disappointing when the name is so blindingly obvious that the marketers grandmother could have cooked it up themselves. Perhaps Kraft avoided to same-old-thing trap and yet leapt into another trap. Will this have hurt Kraft? I don’t think so, they have done this before with success and the Vegemite brand is part of sandwich life in Australia. Had a new brand tried and failed not sure they would be given another chance.

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