Heineken Ideas Factory: most of us want to consume content, not create it

Consumer creativity contests are all the rage these days. One that caught my eye was Heineken's global competition to design a new bottle in their "Remix our Future" contest. This made me smile, as it reminded me of the "Pizzart" contest (UK readers should get the joke) to design a sausage pizza box for the fictional Simpton's brand in my Where's the Sausage book.

But how many entries do you think Heineken got?

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The contest was run on the brand's facebook page.

The brand has 13,000,000 Facebook Likes. 

What do you reckon?

The answer is 1,700.

This is a participation rate of 0.001%

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And what about getting people to look at the designs and vote?

The winning design had 147 views.Which is also 0.001%.

And check out that winning design above. Is it just me, or is that pretty ugly?

Here are my take-outs from this story:

1. Most of us want to consume content, not create it

Give me a break. You're the brand. I want you to be creative, not ask me to do the hard work. 

If you do go this route, make it easy for people to join in. 

2. Lower your expectations

If you do go down the route of asking people to be creative in a contest, lower your expectations. Heineken is a global brand with a big social media presence. And they got 170 entries. 

3. Make it worth my while

If after all this you still decide to go down the creative contest route, at least make it worth while joining in. I posted here on Lays/Walkers "Do us a Flavour" contest. Not only was this easy to enter, the prize was a whopper: £500,000 AND 1% of sales of the new flavour.

The only prize for the Heineken bottle winner I can see is that your design is exhibited in a design exhibition, and then launched.

4. Be careful on creative control

Be careful about what you leave open to consumer creativity. I'm not sure the design of your global pack design is one I'd use this approach on. 

In conclusion, the Heineken bottle contest showed that 99.999% of people who bother to Like the brand's Facebook page were not interested in joining in. A brand's job is to be creative for consumers, and not to delegate this job to them.