Do us a flavour: A minority report?

19May09

I’m gradually starting to tackle my backlog of blog posts.

Walker's Do Us a Flavour Campaign

Walker's Do Us a Flavour Campaign

A couple of weeks ago Walker’s announced the winner of their excellent ‘Do Us A Flavour’ campaign.

Some related thoughts:

– The campaign was generally very well executed, with thousands of suggested flavours and over one million votes from consumers. An example of a marketing campaign that clearly fits the Brand Ignition model.

– The result failed to achieve a winner with a significant winning margin. The product voted first place (Builder’s Breakfast) is only around 1% ahead of the second flavour (Onion Bhaji). In turn, this was only around half of 1% ahead of the third place (Fish & Chips). What’s more, the winner only secured 21.5% of the total vote. Meaning nearly 80% of consumers who voted didn’t think the winner deserved to win. Not a convincing victory then perhaps?

– Should Walker’s have committed to only producing the short-listed flavours for a limited period, until the vote winner was found? At which point only the winning product will become a part of the Walker’s product range, while the others are cancelled. Perhaps it would have been shrewd to let the other flavours be used in the future, as there is bound to have been some audience and regional bias, as well as tactical opportunities for these. Walker’s website states that while it’s tough, the other flavours will disappear.

– If you were a competitor to Walker’s, would you release versions of the second and third place products that lost out by such narrow margins?

– There has been no mention of how the votes compare to sales of the competing products. I wonder if people voted in line with their purchasing habit? Of course some people probably tried several flavours, possibly repeatedly. But did the vote winner also win on sales, preferably by a more convincing margin?

Here’s the results and some PR blurb from Walker’s:

The “Do us a flavour” campaign kicked off in July 2008, when Walkers challenged the public to invent a crisp flavour. More than 1.2 million people responded.

The six finalist flavours were selected from a consumer competition by the chief judge Heston Blumenthal and a panel of judges from Walkers. All six were put on sale in January this year.

Walkers expected 250,000 entries when the campaign was announced to create a new flavour crisp back in July 2008, but since the website launched it has seen a total of 2.4m sessions, with visitors spending an average of nine minutes online per session. At its peak in August 2008, the website had 102,000 web sessions per day.

The winner, Builder’s Breakfast flavour, was announced on May 2 2009. They receive £50,000 and 1% of future sales.

Votes for 6 Do Us A Flavour competitors:
• Builder’s Breakfast – 232,336
• Onion Bhaji – 221,032
• Fish & Chips – 218,270
• Crispy Duck & Hoisin – 176,184
• Cajun Squirrel – 116,777
• Chilli & Chocolate – 114,775

The PR blurb:

Emma Rushin, Creator of the Builder’s Breakfast crisp flavour said:

“I’m thrilled to have won! Tensions were high especially towards the end of campaigning; I really had no idea what way the public vote would go. I’m so proud to have my flavour crisps continue to be on sale across the UK and Ireland, it’ll be fun to see people buying them with their lunch or snacking on them on their way home from work! I am ever so grateful for the public’s support and all their votes. It’s wonderful to know so many people love Builder’s Breakfast too!”

James Stillman, Head of Flavour Development for Walkers added:

“We were overwhelmed by the fantastic response to ‘Do us a Flavour’. We’d like to thank everyone who got involved, either by suggesting a flavour or by voting for their favourite. But there could be only one winner and we’d like to congratulate Emma on her success today. We’re confident that Builder’s Breakfast will make a great addition to the Walkers family.”

Heston Blumenthal, Celebrity Chef and Chief Judge in deciding the finalist flavours for the “Do us a Flavour” competition concluded:

“Our taste buds are changing and developing, as new flavours and foods become readily available in the UK and Ireland. Everyone has their favourite flavours but lately people are becoming keen to experiment and try new foods. The six final flavours in the competition are a clear representation of the diversity in tastes amongst the public and also the growing desire to pair traditional and non-traditional flavours. Let’s hope that Builder’s Breakfast is the first of many different and unusual crisp flavours to come from Walkers, to keep this nation, hungry for crisps, satisfied!”

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