Contestants will design all aspects of their creation -- from the flavor and nutritional function to the actual design of the bottle.
Musicians Carrie Underwood (the winner on the fourth season of "American Idol") and 50 Cent will help choose the winner. The two have been fans of Vitaminwater for a long time, says Eric Berniker, senior VP of brand marketing, Coca-Cola Co.'s Glacéau, which makes Vitaminwater.
"Carrie Underwood is going to help judge because she is well aware of America's fascination with voting for their favorites," he says. "50 Cent was the first of our partners to co-create his own Vitaminwater variety -- Formula 50 -- delivering the key nutrients he needed in his life. The two mega stars will help decide the winning label design once the field is narrowed to the top 10."
The winning label designer, announced in December, will receive a $5,000 prize, and the product they design will be available in stores nationwide in March.
Whitestone, N.Y.-based Vitaminwater's Facebook page already has grown by over 11% just in the past week. Since March, when the page launched, it has grown to more than 400,000 fans. "We wanted to give back to our fans and what better way to do that then to give them control of developing what they are passionate about," Berniker tells Marketing Daily.
This is mostly a digital word-of-mouth program, via New York-based 360i, which taps into existing Facebook fans, he says. "But, we will be promoting the Vitaminwater flavor generator campaign through online advertising -- mostly on Facebook where our passionate fans already exist and also on key sites and blogs that tap directly into the creative types," Berniker says. "We also plan to launch a digital video next week with some surprise guests talking about the program and how fans can get involved in creating the next Vitaminwater variety."
Vitaminwater has conducted other promotions and contests in the past with the NCAA and other sports programs. "But this is not just another marketing program to us -- this is about giving our fans what they ultimately want, which is real control over product innovation," Berniker says. "Through the vitaminwater flavor creator we are handing the lab coat over to our fans so they can create what they want and need in their next Vitaminwater flavor."
Vitaminwater fans will formulate their variety in three steps: 1) flavor, 2) functional benefit and 3) the label design.
In step one, fans can help choose America's most wanted flavor by logging onto Vitaminwater's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/vitaminwater and voting for their favorite flavor or flavor combination. Vitaminwater has created a flavor buzz meter that scours flavor conversations on top blogs and Web sites and then ranks flavors based on information gathered from current chatter.
In step two, participants will play a series of games and answer quiz questions to help Vitaminwater assess what functional benefit America really needs. From this data, Vitaminwater scientists will derive a special formula of vitamins and nutrients.
For the final step, consumers can participate in a contest where they get the chance to name the new variety, design the label and write copy for the bottle including the new variety's name, personality and look.
"It's an interesting program and given the company's existing level of activity on Facebook, it's great to see more integrated promotions," writes Nick O'Neill on his blog, AllFacebook.com. "Applications are a great way to get your Facebook fans engaged and also drive new users to your Facebook Page."