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The use of ad-blocking technologies, online advertising performance (33% of ads generate no purchase intent at all, according to Nielsen), or the hyper-saturation of messages in social media, to cite only a few examples, are leading brands to think of new models to reach their consumers.

Even more so, according to the same source, when 36% of consumers are looking to try new products and 76% of products launched on the market fail. If there is a real demand for new products, why do brands fail when they launch products?

Not treating consumers like mere buyers, but transforming them into part of what makes and produces a brand is possible thanks to co-creation. In 2014, McKinsey already claimed that almost 90% of managers agreed on the value of collaboration between brands and consumers [download our ebook with methodology and good practice for co-creation with large audiences].

Let us review some practical cases of co-creation with large audiences and examples of large companies who put it to practice in different sectors: 


Lego’s is one of the best-known cases of co-creation and is often cited as a success story because it managed to generate loyalty among consumers through their participation in the product they wished to purchase.

The brand has its own community where consumers can contribute ideas for the brand’s new models. Crowdsourcing is part of the process: the community votes and pre-selects shared ideas. If an idea receives more than 10,000 votes, Lego considers its production. The company therefore saves time and money in market research, as co-creation identifies which products will be well-received by consumers.

The Lego ideas community is one of the most popular examples of co-creation

Download ebook.
How to co-create and obtain valuable consumer insights.

Alain Afflelou

A machine to customize glasses in its flagship store in Barcelona, or lenses with exchangeable frames, are some of the business ideas that the French optical group has gathered by asking consumers in the community ideas4afflelou, where it co-creates with them.

example of co-creation Alain Afflelou

Download the case study for Alain Afflelou’s co-creation here.


In 2014, the restaurant chain launched a major co-creative competition among its followers to reinvent its iconic hamburgers. Consumers could design their perfect burger, with winning proposals giving rise to special editions that were served at McDonald’s restaurants. Apart from renewing their menu, McDonald’s scored a success by empowering its customers.

Example of co-creation McDonalds


Threadless, a fashion e-commerce company, pushed co-creation to the extreme by letting users design, choose and buy the product of their choice. Consumers posted their design in the website, other users voted and the creations that received the most support from the community were produced. Threadless was born as an artistic creation competition and has become a profitable business.

Example of co-creation Threadless


Another example of co-creation in the food industry. In 2013, the potato chips manufacturer asked its followers about new flavors for their chips. Fruit of this crowdsourcing, three new exotic flavors hit the stores. Was it too much of a risk? Not really, because they were marketed with the guarantee that they had been suggested by a group of consumers.

Example of co-creation Lays

Hotusa Group

Which services should a hotel room include, or which products make for a perfect breakfast buffet? If the guests are the ones sleeping at the hotel, it only seems logical to ask them about what they would like to find there. Hotusa Group has a listening and co-creation program with its customers, through the community Hotel Tester Ideas. It uses the community to capture valuable consumer insights that have allowed the group to, among other things, identify trends within the sector.

To capture consumer trends is a very popular example of co-creation

You can download the Hotusa Group case study here.


How should the nightclub of the future be? In 2012, Heineken asked this same question to designers in different places all over the planet. The result was presented at Milan’s Design Week in 2012, with a live recreation of the space. Apart from being a co-creation success story (the initiative enjoyed considerable media impact), it also became a reference in terms of advertising and marketing.


A case that illustrates how consumers are at the center of everything. In 2012, Canon launched a competition where it invited people to share photos in a community. From all that unconnected material, a short film was made starring actors like Eva Longoria and Jamie Foxx, and produced by Ron Howard.

Vicky Foods

More environmentally friendly products through a reduced use of plastic in packaging; healthier products thanks to new ingredients. These are some of the issues raised by Spanish food group Vicky Foods, who asked its consumers to participate in the community Mi Dulcesol idea, with the objective of innovating in the market in response to current trends.

Vicky Foods cocreation example

Download the Vicky Foods case study here. 

Drive your own co-creation community, where you can develop new products and services, and create loyalty among your consumers.

Related content:
5 success stories in open innovation.

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