The Wyke Farms Facebook competition leaves a sour taste
Tynan D’Arcy’s new brand designs and packaging for cheese company Wyke Farms are an interesting and innovative new direction for the company.
A bold new ‘speech bubble’ graphic and brave colour palette provide a modern new look for the brand, as well as clear shelf-standout.
But why was Wyke Farm unable to choose this design itself? Why did it rely on its Facebook fans to do the work for it – selecting Tynan D’Arcy’s designs from a shortlist of creative work that also featured concepts by Thinking Juice (which created the previous designs for Wyke Farms) and Holmes & Marchant?
To add insult to injury, this Facebook crowdsourcing exercise took place following an initial call for unpaid creative work, although Wyke Farms says all later development work - including the three shortlisted designs - was paid for.
Sure, the resulting designs are nice, but as one commentator put it on our original story, ‘Luck allowed this to happen, not rigour.’
This process illustrates both how certain brands can struggle to manage design – not having the confidence to a) choose a consultancy based on credentials or paid creative proposals and b) trust that consultancy to deliver decent work.
It also shows the dangers of mixing professional design commissioning with crowd-sourcing. I’m sure Wyke Farms entered into this exercise with the best of intentions – of opening up the rebrand process and letting its customers (Facebook fans) feel like they have a stake in it.
As Wyke Farms says, ‘The company was committed to accepting the “wisdom of the crowd”.
Indeed, the company has a very active and popular Facebook group, with lots of interesting, fun and engaging competitions (Free Cheese Friday, for example, sounds particularly appealing).
The mistake Wyke Farms made was to combine what should have been a professional and rigorous design process – which could still have been fun and richly-rewarding – with what was a frivolous and rather patronising exercise in crowd-sourcing.
We’re all for innovative customer engagement – but this was a social media step too far.