Coca-Cola wanted to understand why consumers love the taste of Coke. Rather than running focus groups with respondents, though, it turned to contestants on eYeka, asking them to upload videos of themselves describing what the drink tastes like.

eYeka is a crowdsourcing platform that allows brands to connect with consumers through online contests. Brands simply create a brief, allocate a prize fund and wait for the contributions to flow in. eYeka has already been used to inspire or to source content for marketing campaigns. But what Coca Cola China is doing here is more akin to market research. In its brief, the company explicitly tells consumers: ‘don’t make an ad for Coke — we’re interested in your creative point of view about the drink.’ But can this type of qualitative research add value?

Granted, crowdsourcing platforms do provide a costeffective means of connecting with consumers globally. But they do have significant drawbacks. Contestants are highly creative and so may not be representative of the typical consumer. Furthermore, the dialogue between the brand and consumer is one-way and, in this case, limited to a 40-second video, making it difficult to explore emerging insights in further detail. As such, the real value of such platforms comes at the ideation stage, helping brands to spark initial ideas and think outside the box.