The internet is a serious business.

PRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL (a.k.a. how internet became so real)

For those of you who never heard of this case history: in May 2011, the German company Henkel launched a design competition on Facebook, asking the fans to respond with their own redesign of the label of the historical Pril bottle. The winning design would have been commercialized in a limited edition for the German market only.

However, this initiative, who conceptually had the chances to run very well, backfired and proved once again that such competitions, so strongly linked to pro-active online communities, lie on a fine line between the great success and the bitter defeat. The response was anyway huge – the participants let their creativity run wild and submitted more than 50,000 new Pril labels. Anyone could draw their own design using the tools on the website, and anyone could vote for their favorite design.

Pril finalist

The official winners of the competitions are these two designs (click on “Die Gewinner”, if the page doesn’t open). Originally, Pril wanted to let the online community choose the design by voting on their website, but after they saw what was happening, they decided to use a jury to choose the winners (a screencap of the final standings can be found here).


Changing the rules and introducing a formal jury at the end of the competition has been a very unpopular decision, and unleashed a roaring storm on the company’s Facebook page, because in fact it was the PRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL design which got the most votes from the community. The actual “winners” picked by the jury were on places 9 & 10.


The company feared it would damage their image if they didn’t print the design, because it actually had the most votes of all. So, they made a Limited Edition of 700 bottles with the PRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL design, and officially sold them on eBay for 2€ per bottle. All the bottles where sold incredibly fast. A few days later you could even buy one of these bottles (re-selled by the ebuyers) for about 25€ on eBay.



But that’s not the end of the story. Henkel decided to sell the bottles on eBay so that nobody would see them in stores. However, some German guys decided to give more visibility to the real winner of the competition, so they printed out the design and went to the nearby stores and modified some of the Pril bottles…


The moral of the story? Never underestimate the power of the internet (and its users).

  1. 12 aprile 2012
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