An increasing number of companies rope in their Facebook fans for advertizing campaigns or product development and put the names or designs to the vote on the Internet. In doing so they outsource processes that were previously performed within the company or by advertizing agencies before the introduction of digital media into the Net. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter provide the necessary attention and promotional effectiveness on the Web. These campaigns are not always successful. The washing powder manufacturer Henkel, supplied an example of unsuccessful crowdsourcing campaign in 2011.
The company created a new design for the dishwasher liquid “Pril” and asked Internet users to enter their suggestions. Henkel received 50,000 designs through the Web. However the brand manufacturer was not satisfied with any of them. When some of the controversial suggestions, for example the slogan “tastes as good as roast chicken”, were among the front-runners, Henkel suddenly changed the rules of the design contest. This can be regarded as a prime example of a failed crowdsourcing project.
Henkel named a jury to choose the winning design. As a result, the designs the Net community favored fell through. The reactions of the users were accordingly indignant about it. They started a campaign against the brand manufacturer on the company’s fanpage. This example shows if a company launches a crowdsourcing campaign, they must treat the suggestions made the Internet users with openness and transparency. And they must be aware that unusual and bizarre suggestions may also be entered.
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