Pooling ideas from the consumer base isn’t a new concept — it’s a practice that’s been employed by corporations for years, from surveys to test panels — but with the invent of the information super highway it has become even more prominent and, in many ways, that much more effective. Consumers love feeling like they have a say in the direction of the products that they are purchasing, although the level of success that some of this market research has achieved is debatable (I gave up once they inexplicably added hot air balloon marshmallows to Lucky Charms). And, when the idea of a contest is introduced, it can effectively build momentum and a deeper feeling of connectedness to what are often, otherwise, relatively average and worthless products.
One of the first contests that I remember paying any attention to came in 1993, when, as part of the company’s 90th birthday celebration, Crayola released their largest box yet — it held 96 crayons,16 of which were brand new colors — and invited consumers to take part in the “Name The New Colors Contest” promotion. A fairly successful contest overall, each of the 16 contributors of winning entries — entries like “Macaroni & Cheese,” “Mauvelous,” “Tickle Me Pink,” and “Purple Mountains Majesty” — was flown to Hollywood for the unveiling and had their name credited on the wrapper of their particular crayon color for the subsequent year, among other rewards. Of course, that’s an example of when these promotions work but, over the following 2 decades, I’ve witnessed various other contests and test panels result in too many misguided products to count, like the endless potato chip flavor combinations that taste like a mix of Lawry‘s seasoned salt, powdered cheese product, and bile (Heads up: the Lay’s ‘Do Us A Flavor’ contest is currently in effect, y’all). Sometimes, if you put too much control in the public’s hands, you wind up building a car like The Homer. Other times, they just simply cannot be trusted to even participate, without sinking the entire promotion, before it even gets through the initial stage. You might recall that such was the case with the Dub The Dew campaign, which involved Mountain Dew pooling names for their latest bottled concoction of paint brush water and carbonated off-brand Triaminic, and resulted in bronies voting up the name of one of their favorite animated equine fetishes/imaginary friends, only to have members of the infamous 4-Chan imageboard overload the contest with votes until entries like “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong” and references to masturbation and/or elderly women climbed to the top of the voting chart.
Earlier today, I saw something that, as far as I’m concerned, is really steering the consumer polling contest scene back in the right direction. Apparently, the folks over at LEGO have set it up for fans of the toy line to submit their own LEGO set concepts and, if they yield enough votes for their ideas, the next stop is for them to be evaluated to, potentially, even have them produced and released by the company. So, what makes me so excited about this, otherwise, relatively straight-foward project? The answer is one submission in particular: a Golden Girls-related playset that was contributed by an aspiring designer using the moniker “lostsleep. ” Check out the full description included with the entry along with a gallery of 20 different detailed photographs demonstrating visual examples of his creation below:
The Golden Girls Living Room and Kitchen Modular Set with Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia, and Stan
This is a recreation of the Golden Girls House used in filming the popular 1980’s show that is still watched daily around the world. It is the Foyer, Living Room, and Kitchen built like a TV set, with one wall removed and a full view into the space. It comes with 5 minifigures including Dorothy, Rose, Sophia, Blanche, and Stanley. It has been meticulously recreated to have opening cupboards and fridge in the kitchen, Wicker Sofa and Chairs, a hallway backdrop, a storage closet in the kitchen, and an outdoor area with potted plants and a hose.
I have recreated many classic scenes from the show, including a visit from Burt Reynolds, Rose shooting Blanche’s Vase, Dorothy Playing “Grab That Dough” and Rose rescuing her Teddy Bear from a mean little girl.
Under an UPDATE tab, the following promise was also made:
If we can get to 5000 votes, I will add the Lanai behind the Foyer. The girls need a place to relax in the sun and play cards. Thanks for all the support. Please continue to share it with friends and get them to vote. It has a long way to go still. THANKS!!!
I was alerted to lostsleep‘s Golden Girls tribute set by a Facebook friend who posted the link to it with the comment, “Every vote counts.” Unfortunately, when I went to the page, I couldn’t figure out how to vote for the entry. I later discovered that the reason that I was unable to officially add my approval for the cause was because the submission had already hit the 10,000 vote mark necessary to move it forward to the next step where it is now set to be reviewed by a panel that includes set designers and marketers to analyze its viability as an actual LEGO product. I couldn’t have seen that Facebook post too long after it went up, so I had to wonder how quickly this campaign was actually progressing, if It had already reached it’s goal, since it went up. According to a post that I came across on MovieFone.com, this thing is, apparently, moving faster than I even expected. As they explain it, there were “just over 2,400 supporters, with 343 days left to hit the 10,000 mark” when they published the piece earlier today. That means that, in the matter of a couple of hours, at most, the votes for this potential product has tripled.
So… I guess what I’m asking is, “this thing has actually got to happen now, right?” I know that there are still plenty of aspects to consider, such as licensing and production costs, but the people have spoken and something tells me that, with all of the momentum that this has already proven to be capable of generating, and so quickly, marketing this things isn’t going to be the least of their issues.