Kraft finally decided on a name for their new Vegemite product. The name, ‘iSnack 2.0’ has been universally panned by the mainstream media and social media alike. Where the naming competition process fell down, was not that it was crowd sourced as many are suggesting, rather that it was not crowd sourced enough. Sure we can all understand why agencies and brand custodians alike are both hesitant to completely open their brand up to the wisdom of the crowds, it makes the brands feel naked and exposed as well as making bringing the value the agency brings to the brand into question (Since they arguably aren’t doing anything creative in their work for the brand.)
Kraft would have struggled with almost all of the names they chose for the new Vegemite spread. With the brand being so close to the hearts of many Australians, a large number would have reacted to any name chosen regardless. Unfortunately for Kraft they chose a name most likely to offend those with a voice in the social media and from that point on it was game over for iSnack 2.0.
What Kraft should have done
Run a more open competition, either completely open with a digg style submission and voting system. (which would have opened the competition to being ‘gamed’ to the point where the poll looks something like Time Magazines ‘hacked’ 100 most influential people results) Or a partially open competition, where they could have let the competition run as it did in for iSnack 2.0, come up with a shortlist of 10 (or less) from the crowd sourced entries and let people vote on their favorites.
It is entirely possible that if the competition is gamed you will end up with a result less optimal than had the competition been totally fair and all votes represented the true wisdom of the crowd. But at the very least, if you let the voting run for a period of time, you have introduced the potential product names to the population over time via the short list and the final result will not shock the loyal customers who with iSnack 2.0 were so outraged at having this name thrust upon their brand. With Kraft caving to the pressure and declaring they would rename the product before it has even shipped to retailers, this is a victory for the crowd, and evidence once again that “The mob is faster, smarter and stronger than you are.”