Google is My Boyfriend is a single search engine optimization marketer's struggle to balance her work and her love for a search engine. A not-so-serious approach to search engine news, social media and marketing. Not affiliated with Google in any way, until he puts a ring on it.

June 24, 2010

Why I Hate Social Media Consumer-Created Product Contests

It's a marketing ploy that's been around forever: give Mr. Clean a first name (Veritably), make the next Jelly Belly flavor (blackberry Italian soda, ahem), decide the newest M&M color (bring back tan)  - the consumer-created product contest.

In the age of social media, this is brought to a whole new level with easy Facebook app-entry, YouTube pitches, and flash-based websites. Mix easy entry with the constant need for fan validation and self-importance, and it's instant branding.

The new fan created flavors of  Distortion, Typhoon and White Out from Mountain Dew is a prime social media success story.  Papa John's is currently in the semifinals of a speciality pizza challenge on Facebook. And then, then there is DUNKIN DONUTS.

Before we get into fried awesomeness, some background:

As I have previously discussed, I LOVE CONTESTS.  I've been entering them ever since I knew how to address an envelope.  I ran out to see The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio because I thought it was about a hot mom who entered jingle contests in the 1950s, not spousal abuse!  And bless Al Gore for the internet, I've been entering them as much as I can online. Just last week I won a Kena Kai Travelocity DataSafe passport wallet! At work, I give out prizes via Facebook and Twitter every week. It's one of my favorite parts of my job.  So, when my coworkers were engrossed one afternoon in designing their own Dunkin' Donut my ears perked up.

Not only do I love contests, but I LOVE DONUTS.

nice, round... donuts

I surveyed the different types, the different fillings, frostings, and toppings and began to design my donut. Here's my entry:

Shape: Round
Dough: French Cruller
Frosting: Maple Icing
Toppings: Blue and White Sprinkles
Inspiration: (I said something to the effect of) This donut celebrates my quebecois heritage, as the French Canadians deserve their own morning pastry. The French Cruller honors our language, the Maple Icing, our Canadian nationality, and the blue and white sprinkles, the colors of the quebecois flag.
and the clincher:

Name: The Celine Dionut

I thought I was absolutely genius. I was going to win this thing! Well, I'd at least be a finalist and it was so awesome that everyone would vote for me!

The afternoon they announced the finalists (I got an email and a text message), I was crushed! The finalists sucked donut holes. I voted for the cop and coffee finalist and was legitimately bummed. How could they not pick me!

And then! The winner! On National Donut Day, we get this giant rollout and announcement and video with the smug, cute winner giving donuts to all the Dunkin' Donut executives. I was livid.

On June 24th, la fete nationale du Quebec, I declare that I am WAY too competitive for consumer-created product contests and must cease entering them immediately.

Dear Papa John,
Green Goddess is your winner!