Crowd sourcing a crowd pleaser?


Engagement is the Holy Grail for marketers and in the past year crowd sourcing has reared its head as an innovative way for brands to go about earning it. Waitrose and Sainsbury’s have both made a stab at involving their customers in product development this week but to what end?

Last year when Waitrose relaunched its MyWaitrose online members club, part of the promotional campaign, developed by Kitcatt Nohr Digitas, included an opportunity for customers to create a product that would then appear on Waitrose shelves as past of its Seriously… dessert range.

It launches next week and Waitrose has said it may become a regular feature spawning more customer-created products.

Sainsbury’s has also unveiled a crowd sourcing initiative, this one targeting kids. “I-Scream” invites seven to 14 year olds to invent a “disgustingly scary new ice-cream flavour” to be released in time for Halloween.

What fun! The mind boggles at the possibilities and I’m more than a little upset I’m too old to take part and can’t indulge my love of all things Halloween, but does it really drive brand engagement?

It’ll be a hoot for kids to concoct all manner of sugary ice cream delights, but I’m not sure it will it make their mums and dads any more likely to shop at Sainsbury’s.

Waitrose says its initiative is a way to involve consumers in the product development process, but do consumers really care? Is there a demand for it among Waitrose shoppers?

Am I more likely to buy a chocolate dessert at Waitrose because a fellow customer has developed it? Probably not. Waitrose foodie experts are more than able to come up with delicious and tempting desserts themselves.

In terms of driving engagement I’m not sure it works either. A Waitrose spokesperson told me that there were 400 entries but that doesn’t seem like that grand a response as I’m sure the MyWaitrose database is significantly higher than that.

Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever’s ice cream brand, has also launched a crowd sourcing initiative this week, one that I think will be more successful in terms of building engagement and connecting with consumers that Waitrose and Sainsbury’s efforts.

Its “Unfairly Desserted” Facebook app invites UK fans to vote on which flavour, previously only available in the US, should be brought to our fair isle. It works because it responds to an existing demand for these flavours in the UK and it gives consumers a voice in the businesses decision.

Make sure you don’t miss a golden opportunity to network and glean valuable insights at this year’s In-Store show, part of Marketing Week Live!, at London Olympia on 29 and 30 June. Click here to register

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here