菲多利（Frito-Lay）在打造土豆片的最新口味时，智囊团把这项工作交给了最具创造力和最为重要的美食评论家们，也就是该公司的顾客。这家公司发起了一个活动——“请帮我们一个忙”（Do us a Flavor）。作为活动的一部分，菲多利食品爱好者们提出了380万个有关薯片口味的想法（下文将进一步介绍胜出者的有关情况）。这种众包技巧对于母公司百事可乐（PepsiCo）来说并不新鲜。百事的众包历史可以追溯到2007年，当时它的“激浪民主”（DEWmocracy）活动催生了激浪（Mountain Dew）的最新口味Voltage。菲多利首席营销官安•穆克吉说：“它真正开创了我称之为消费者参与和消费者掌控的新潮流。” 2007年以来，百事可乐旗下的所有品牌总共从消费者那里得到了2,000多万个涉及产品口味的建议。
When it came time to create the newest flavor of Frito-Lay potato chips, the brand's brain trust turned things over to its most creative and important food critics: its customers. As part of the brand's "Do us a Flavor" contest, Frito-Lay lovers sent in 3.8 million chip flavor ideas (more on the winner to come). This crowdsourcing technique is nothing new to parent company PepsiCo. Its history with crowdsourcing dates back to 2007 when its "DEWmocracy" promotion generated the newest Mountain Dew flavor: Voltage. "It really started what I'll call a wave of consumer engagement and consumer control," says Frito-Lay chief marketing officer Ann Mukherjee. Since 2007, PepsiCo has received more than 20 million flavor suggestions from customers across all brands.
Like PepsiCo (PEP, Fortune 500), many prominent brands are a lot more willing to place important decisions in the hands of their fans. And it's no coincidence. Much of the movement stems from the rise of social media integration, says Sam Decker, CEO of Mass Relevance, which builds social media experiences into client websites, helping brands -- including Nike, NBC, and the National Basketball Association -- engage users by highlighting content on their sites. And with so many fans eager and willing to share their thoughts over social media, it's no surprise that companies are beginning to listen more closely. "The audience is there. They're used to participating and creating content," says Decker. "By doing it through a social network, you get the benefit of amplifying their participation out to their followers and then pulling in more people."
The beverage and snack maker has been a crowdsourcing pioneer, utilizing the creativity of customers to come up with new flavors across a number of its brands. Pepsico's most recent "Do us a Flavor" campaign for Frito-Lay, garnered nearly four million submissions for its newest flavor of potato chips. A panel of food experts, including celebrities like Iron Chef Michael Simon and actress and restaurateur Eva Longoria, helped narrow submissions down to the final three, and a fan vote determined the winner. Finalists included Chicken and Waffles and Sriracha, but Cheesy Garlic Bread took the top spot. (Other notable submissions were Margarita and Korean BBQ.)
Cheesy Garlic Bread will become a Frito-Lay regular later in 2013, but the top two runners-up will also be brought back for a limited run due to popularity, says Mukherjee. In total, more than one million votes were cast. "What we got in total talk value for the brand [during the campaign]," she says, "was unprecedented."