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At this very moment, people are excitedly voting. Young and old are sampling the available candidates, looking for a true standout, and then they’re ready to make cast their ballot. The most diehard of the group head online to insult the opposing party in heated debate. Hope is in the air…

<p>Mountain Dew DEWmocracy</p>

But this time it is for neon carbonated soda. Yes, Mountain Dew is holding an election which they call DEWmocracy.

Here is a guess of what these DEWmocracy candidates went through before they hit your stomach:

  1. DEWmocracy allows users to vote create their own flavor, look, and brand of Mountain Dew.
  2. Ten new flavors of Mountain Dew are created in a tasting lab based on these votes.
  3. These ten flavors are tested in a focus group. Five survive.
  4. The feedback tells the lab to modify the formulas of all products.
  5. These five flavors are sent back into a focus group where we have three top choices.
  6. The top three choices are modified once again by tester feedback.
  7. These three flavors are branded and hit the store shelves.
  8. People vote with their wallets and one survives.

And yet, after all of this hard work , the DEWmocracy drinks are beyond horrible. How could this be?

Everything you eat or drink or watch has been through a similar process, possibly hundreds of times. Focus groups within focus groups within focus groups. If this system worked as claimed everything we touch would be better for it. Each movie you watched would be better then the last. Each meal would be an improvement based on cold hard data. But this is clearly not the case.

The truth is, focus groups are perfect at creating consumables for the masses. Not too spicy, not too bland – right down the middle. Made for people who are afraid to taste anything but the familiar repackaged. And since this is a large market, this appears to validate the process.

But never forget – masterpieces are made when creations speak with pinpoint accuracy to the hopes and needs of a few like minds.

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