We saw in class last week the example of Mountain Dew’s contest to name its newest flavor. Unfortunately, the contest was not taken very seriously and an anti-Semitic name ended up winning the contest. Obviously, Mountain Dew could not actually name its newest flavor the name that had won; however, this does provide an example of what can go wrong when consumers are given too much control.
The Mountain Dew example also reminded me of a contest that happened about a year ago where Taylor Swift would perform a free concert at your college if your college got the most votes. The winner of the contest ended up being a school for deaf people thanks to an insensitive internet prank.
As funny as these examples can be, they also provide evidence that consumers on the internet cannot be trusted. The obvious solution would have been for Mountain Dew to monitor the name submissions more closely, but that would take a lot of time and effort. What sort of compromise should companies make? Should polls that give consumers free reign be done away with?
I personally think that when companies create contests such as these, they should be fully prepared for internet pranks/trolls and do their best to avoid them. For example, Mountain Dew could have provided a list of 10 names to choose from for the new soda, rather than allow everyone to submit whatever they want.
This is just another testament to the fact that companies have to be extra vigilant in the age of social media.