Contests in which consumers help design or contribute to special product labeling -- closely tied in with digital/social media and larger marketing missions, of course -- seem to be popping up with increasing frequency among food manufacturers these days.
Two recent examples include Chiquita Brands International and Knorr, Unilever's largest brand.
Chiquita asked consumers to design customized takes of its iconic, 50-year-old blue product sticker. Fans are now (through Sept. 12) voting online on 50 finalist submissions, to choose the 18 grand prize winners that will be featured on the brand's bananas, nationwide, during the month of November. (All finalists also received a branded T-shirt, hat and keychain.)
The contest is the latest engagement/entertainment activity on EatAChiquita.com, which drew more than 500,000 visitors within the first six months of its launch in October 2009. One key to that draw is an app that allows users to create their own customized faces within the oval, blue-background shape of the brand's sticker, and then post and share these (25,000 faces were created in those first six months).
The site also offers a tool that allows users to add their custom sticker faces to their photos and post and share these -- and for diehard fans, a "Shop A Peel" store (hosted on Zazzle.com) featuring a wide range of items that can be purchased and customized with the personalized sticker faces. Site users can also play a "Banana Boogie Battle" video game, create and post Chiquita-themed videos, and blog with fellow brand fans.
Chiquita's Facebook page fans (currently numbering about 20,000) are now avidly posting pleas for votes for their favorite (or their own) contest sticker design finalist submissions -- as are the approximately 400 current followers on Twitter.com/ChiquitaChatter. (The brand also has a vertical Twitter presence devoted to its fruit smoothies.)
Meanwhile, the 100-year-old Knorr Bouillon brand is also featuring consumer-generated content on its product labels for the first time, in the form of recipes.
The "Recetas Arrozísimas" contest is designed to further engage and build brand loyalty and sales among Knorr's heavily Latino consumer base (more than half of Hispanics use Knorr in cooking), with entries and voting taking place primarily through its Spanish-language community site, KnorrSabor.com.
During the spring, Latina fans were asked to submit their favorite Knorr rice recipes, reflecting the fact that about 14% of the four from-scratch dishes prepared, on average, by Latinas each day are rice-based.
Three semifinalist recipes were chosen from among thousands submitted, according to Knorr. The semifinalists were awarded $2,000, and as of this month, their images are being featured on the labels of Knorr's 2.2-pound bouillon jars. Their recipes are being featured in an on-cap sticker on the products, in in-store signage, danglers and flyers, and on KnorrSabor.com.
From Sept. 1 to Oct. 24, brand fans are being encouraged to vote for their favorite of the three recipes on the site, by mail or in grocery stores, to determine the grand prize winner, who will receive an additional $5,000. Voters are entered for chances to win a daily prize of $100 and a grand prize of $1,000 and a basket of Knorr products.
The contest is being supported by an integrated marketing campaign that spans Spanish-language and in-culture English print advertising, PR, retail signage and in-store events in hundreds of grocery outlets, and online and social media.
Knorr Marketing Director Donna Barker notes that word-of-mouth influence always has been extremely critical among the Hispanic consumers, who continue to be so key to the brand's growth, and the brand's marketing continues to evolve to reflect Hispanics' growing use of digital/social media to share their opinions and brand preferences.
"Recipes with Knorr products have been passed down from mother to daughter, from friend to friend -- it is a multigenerational, everlasting tradition," Barker tells Marketing Daily via email. "This has become more apparent with the explosion and growing influence of the Latino blogosphere -- and our efforts, like Recetas Arrozísimas, are conducive to taking these conversations and recipe-sharing online."