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Chiquita Crowdsources Its Brand (In a Good Way)

A crowdsourced marketing stunt that actually works.

We’ve seen lots of examples of crowdsourced marketing and design efforts, and frankly these are usually awful. So we’re a bit surprised to find ourselves saying that the new Chiquita brand campaign, which asked people to submit designs for the famed stickers that adorn Chiquita bananas, works pretty damn well.

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Here’s how the whole thing worked. The call for sticker designs came first; these were then voted on by viewers. The trick is that the top 18 vote gettersannounced last week — will actually see their designs on bananas starting next month. That popularity contest allowed the campaign to go viral, as entrants posted their pieces on Facebook to garner votes. In all, some 100,000 people voted. As Slashfood reports, you even had entrants saying things such as, “I eat bananas every day before I sit down to work at my computer. Basically, bananas plus a graphic design contest equals magic.” Hard to buy that sort of PR.

The stickers are a perfect outlet for the crowdsourcing. It’s not like crowdsourcing your logo or an entire ad campaign — which gets you mediocrity in exchange for a bit of passing buzz. Rather, the sticker itself is such an obvious passing fancy that even if it’s not great, it doesn’t matter. (And even if it’s not great, the real estate is so tiny that the most important thing — the brand’s colors — remain. To preserve the core mark, the contest made sure to mention that the Chiquita girl could not be shown in any of the entries.) So you get the buzz, but it doesn’t take over your branding because the icon itself remains intact.

We doubt that this could be repeated in too many different contexts. And it won’t likely sell any more bananas. But it does a good job at adding some real-life conversation and pass-around to a brand that won’t be changing anytime soon.

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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