Consumer involvement is a good way to unite people and brands

When was the last time you saw an ad once and it instantly made you want to go out and buy the product ?

This happened to me last month when I caught sight of a poster for Dorito’s promotion “Doritos id3 – Guess the Mystery Flavour”.  What a fabulous idea.  You can win £20,000 (or a host of other prizes) for guessing the secret. A bit more complicated than it initially seems on the poster, there are time released episodes in which you participate by entering the code on the limited edition packs.  Anyway Doritos explain the idea in full at their website

Doritos were one of the pioneers of User Generated Content on a big scale in the USA when they invited consumers to create and then choose the ad that would run in the Super Bowl in 2007.  This was followed by a UK version “you make it we play it” which ran in 2008 and the winner was aired during Euro 08.

Guessing the secret flavour is a more accessible and beautifully simple concept because anyone can participate with no need for aspirations to creativity or an ambition to work in advertising.

If successful the idea is very transferable across categories.

You can easily imagine a “guess the scent” variant of deodorant for example – particularly for a brand like Lynx or Impulse.  There could be huge fun with a “name that scent” for a brand like Charlie that aims at teenage girls.  Or could a general retailer launch a mystery clothing line with a “guess the designer”?

A doughnut variant where you have to guess the variety of jam, a fishfinger where you have to guess the type of fish, a soft drink with a secret spice, a secret guest editor for Cosmopolitan, Amazon printing the first two pages of a new best seller and you have to guess the author – really the ideas are endless and I think, also, endless fun.

If user generated content allowed the consumer to get closer to the brand by joining their ad agency, then guess the flavour allows them to become an even closer part of the team.  The users join the new product development department, in effect, and become key to the naming of and the popularising of a new breed of consumer involved product.  Walkers (a sister brand to Doritos) had success in this respect with their “do us a flavour” campaign with over 1million entries and a share of the royalties of the winning flavour of crisps.  But you could argue that required some actual creativity, as of course does writing an advert.  This version in its simplest form is more about detection, or rather guessing, than creation.  Guessing the flavour is a great way to get people into the brand that could see this kind of consumer involvement move into the mass market.

As seen at

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