All posts by 374812rh

Cheers to a more sustainable world

As one of the world’s largest brewers, Carlsberg wanted to create a greener beer. The bottles of the Danish brewer have already a green color for decades, but the ‘Cheers to Green Ideas’ competition was launched to improve the environmental impact of beer. The company has incorporated an open innovation model and asked consumers and companies from all over the world to submit ideas about greening the beer. Using the wisdom of the crowd, Carlsberg wanted to have a positive effect on the environment through drinking beer.


“We believe that business has a leading role to play in developing concepts such as the circular economy or closed-loop practices to drive positive change.” – Cees ‘t Hart, CEO, Carlsberg Group


Carlsberg is aware of their position in today’s world, and therefore know that they can contribute to a more sustainable environment. To achieve this, they created an open innovation model. They opened op for external ideas and collaborations. For instance for the ‘Cheers to Green Ideas’ competition, with the collaboration with Sustainia, a think tank that wants to create a more sustainable future. Together, Carlsberg and Sustainia wanted to build on the world of tomorrow through launching a sustainability competition in 2015.


The challenge

In 2015, Carlsberg announced the ‘Cheers to Green Ideas’ competition. During a three-week period, consumers, firms, and entrepreneurs from all over the world had the possibility to submit their ideas about making the Carlsberg’s beer more sustainable. The competition highlighted three key challenges to consider: how to package beer in an eco-friendly way, how to increase recycling, and how to use less water and energy during production. In total, six finalists were selected out of the 162 submitted ideas by a Carlsberg jury. Two awards were to handed out to the best ideas: Cheers to Green Ideas Award, mainly intended for companies and entrepreneurs, and the JC Jacobsen Special Award, intended for consumers.




From closed to open

This competition shows that Carlsberg has an open innovation model. They are open to collaborating with other companies and organizations, and the input of consumers. Even though many companies benefit from the transition from closed to open, this often does not go without resistance, and therefore does not happen overnight. The process often faces organizational, social, and psychological barriers.


It’s a change process

Opening up an organization requires change, demanding for a different mindset. While changing, firms can face various barriers. Organizational barriers can be encountered with all activities that have to do with implementing co-creation (complex governance, operations, intellectual property etc.). Also, there can be psychological and social barriers, which can occur in a team or among employees (inertia, fear of the unknown, not invented hear syndrome etc.).




Get ready for co-creation

Managing the process from closed to open well can result in a profitable business, but where should firms pay attention to? Using the following steps can help to overcome the aforementioned barriers.

Start with why: explain why change is need

Shrink the change: divide the change into small steps

Go for direct result: generate quick wins along the process

Cut the leash: give autonomy and show value for individuals

Do it together: create a feeling of unity and shared identity through team building to create trust and encourage people

Discover the feeling: show other successful cases to let people experience it to make them more at ease

Set the scene: provide a place by literally creating a co-creation environment apart from the daily business, inside or outside the company walls

Make it happen: incorporate the change in every activity and decision to make it a natural behavior

Get the board in: make sure higher management support the change and let them show their support with a rewarding system


Following these steps can helps firms to overcome barriers from going to an open business model and have successful co-creation competitions just as Carlsberg.



Carlsberg, 2015:

Carlsberg, 2016:

GlobeNewswire, 2015:

Fronteer, 2011:

Sustainia, 2015:

Sutainia, 2017:

Sustainable brand, 2015: hannah_furlong/carlsberg_saying_cheers_crowdsourced_solutions_sustainab

An Audience of One: Behaviorally Targeted Ads as Implied Social Labels

Online advertisements have become more important than ever and data have helped to make ads tailored to every single individual. Many research has been done about the differences of traditional ads and personal ads. Often, prior work examined the inferences consumers make about firms when confronted with advertisements. However, this paper researches what the inferences firms make about consumers have as consequence for consumer awareness. People recognizing tailored ads will adapt their behavior through social-labeling. Hence, behaviorally targeted ads can influence consumers’ self-perception, and finally their purchase behavior.


In the past, firms targeted people based on customer segments. Variables used to determine to which segment an individual belonged where for example demographics (e.g. gender and ethnicity) or psychographics (e.g. personality and lifestyle). Nowadays, every website collects data about its visitors to track their behavior and to determine specific user profiles. Hence, marketers make inferences about every visitor, based on past behavior. Using behavioral targeting, personal ads can be displayed to consumers to influence their behavior. By doing so, marketers place a certain social label to an individual. This paper examines whether consumers adapt their behavior when they perceive an ad as behaviorally targeted and recognize the implied social label.




How do we measure this?

The paper used different methods to test the proposed hypotheses. In total, four different studies were conducted, using mostly lab experiments. Also surveys and posttests were used to measure the relationships. Testing the hypotheses using multiple studies and different research methods is one of the major strengths of the paper. Every hypothesis is researched individually to examine the impacts in-depth and controlling for influences for every specific case. Another strength is that the effects are measured over time.


What do we find?

The studies result in some interesting findings. Behaviorally targeted ads can act as implied social labels. If consumers identify an ad as personalized, they will adjust their self-perception. According to the self-perception theory (Bem, 1972), people perceive themselves to have certain qualities and will act according these believes. External sources, such as personalized ads, can influence these self-perceptions. As a result, people will adapt their purchase behavior to meet these implied social labels the ads communicate. The studies also show that this not only contains for purchase behavior, but also for other label-consistent behavior (e.g. people labeled as environmental friendly are not only more willing to purchase eco-friendly products, but will also donate sooner to an environmental friendly charity). However, this behavior will only occur if the displayed ads are at least moderately aligned with a person’s past behavior.




What are our limitations?

Even though the study is well designed and executed, there are some weaknesses, limiting the applicability of the findings. The paper mostly tested the hypotheses using lab experiments. People were informed in different manners that ads were personalized or based on earlier completed tasks. This is of course not representative for real-life cases, reducing the applicability. Additionally, the effectiveness of personalized ads depends on the trustworthiness of a firms (Aguirre et al., 2015). The lower a consumer’s trust in a firm, the more suspicious he will be and the more privacy concerns will play a role. Hence, the findings may have limited impact for less trusted firms.


Still, our findings matter

There are some limitations to the applicability of the results. However, managers should still take into account how to target a consumer, since consumer responses to behaviorally targeted ads are sensitive to several variables under managerial control. Managers should disclose that an ad is personalized (e.g. using the AdChoices icon), to influence people’s self-perception. Additionally, the ads should be at least moderately match with a person’s personality.


Influencing someone’s self-perception will not only result in greater sales of the featured product, but also for future sales, and relating product categories. Conclusion, behaviorally targeted ads may be more beneficial for a company’s profits than previously believed.



Aguirre, E., Mahr, D., Grewal, D., de Ruyter, K., & Wetzels, M. (2015). Unraveling the personalization paradox: The effect of information collection and trust-building strategies on online advertisement effectiveness. Journal of Retailing, 91(1), 34-49.


Bem, Daryl J. (1972), “Self-Perception: An Alternative Interpretation of Cognitive Dissonance Phenomena,” Psychological Review, 74 (May), 183–200.


Summers, C. A., Smith, R. W., & Reczek, R. W. (2016). An Audience of One: Behaviorally Targeted Ads as Implied Social Labels. Journal of Consumer Research, 43, 156-178.

Drinking beer for science: Which brew is the best?

Who doesn’t want to taste a beer that has been chosen as best beer amongst a crowd of over 25,000 people from all across the USA? In 2012, Budweiser introduced Project 12. The American brewer challenged its twelve brewmasters to create a unique beer recipe. Only one could be the winner, resulting in the Budweiser Black Crown.

Project 12 is a typical crowdsourcing project. As the name describes, crowdsourcing is a type of outsourcing, utilizing a crowd of people instead of an external organization (Howe, 2006). Since the introduction of the concept in 2006, the technology industry was one of the early adopters. However, in the last couple of years, this industry has been overtaken by the fast-moving customer goods (FMCG) industry (Roth et al., 2015). The evolution of crowdsourcing usage per sector is depicted in Figure 1 (Roth et al, 2015).


Figure 1: Evolution of crowdsourcing usage

Crowd consultation

Companies can use different ways to exploit the crowd. The main purposes for crowdsourcing are problem solving, gathering ideas, collecting designs, and outsourcing tasks. With problem solving and ideation contests, the crowd comes up with the ideas and solutions. Decisions on the results are often done internally by companies. Budweiser used a variation on this crowdsourcing model. The brewer created the beers itself (the ‘’ideas’’ / ‘’solutions’’), and used the crowd as consultants (‘’decision makers’’). Hence, the company reversed the typical crowdsourcing model. In summer of 2012, the company traveled across the USA to get in contact with thousands of customers at local events, festivals, and other activities to gather opinions. As such, the participants acted as consultants for Budweiser.

Project 12

In 2012, Budweiser asked twelve of its brewmasters, located in the USA, to create a distinctive beer recipe worthy of the Budweiser name. The beer recipe had to be inspired by regional influences of their brewing location. Out of these twelve, six beers were chosen to join the Budweiser brewers on their tour across America. Consumers with many different backgrounds had the opportunity to taste the different beers and rate them on taste, flavor, freshness, and style before picking their favorites. A summer-long sampling program resulted in the biggest focus group in brand history, maybe even beer history, according to AB InBev, parent company of Budweiser (Brady, 2012). See the video below about Project 12.

There can be only one

Eventually, three brews were distributed in limited edition. One of them was the winner, called ‘Black Crown’. Each beer was named after the zipcode of the brewery location it was created. The  winning beer was introduced using TV ads and even a 30-second Super Bowl commercial. However, the question is whether this expensive marketing tools were really necessary, since Project 12 was already a marketing tool itself. Crowdsourcing projects namely have an advantage that the crowd becomes eager for the product to come out. Participants already become brand ambassadors through spreading the word during the project (IdeaConnection, 2014).

Whether these marketing expenses were really necessary or not, Project 12 turned out to be really successful. The success was so enormous that the brewer decided to launch a similar project the following year (IdeaConnection, 2014). Hence, Budweiser benefitted from their crowdsourcing strategy.

Nowadays, Budweiser is still the most important brand of Ab InBev (largest brewer worldwide), and is even the best selling beer in America (Statista, 2016). That’s why Budweiser is called ‘’The King of Beers’’.


Howe, J. (2006). The rise of crowdsourcing. Wired magazine14(6), 1-4.

Roth, Y., Pétavy, F., & Céré, J. (2015). The state of crowdsourcing in 2015. eYeka Analyst Report.

Brady, S. (2012), AB InBev Woos Beer-Drinkers With Crowdsourced, Locally Developed Bud Flavors, brandchannel [Accessed 17-02-2017 from:].

IdeaConnection (2014), Crowdsourcing a New Beer Bevarage with Budweiser [Accessed 17-02-2017 from:]

IdeaScale (2017), Crowdsourcing Ideation [Accessed 17-02-2017 from:].

Statista (2016), Sales of the leading domestic beer brands of the United States in 2016 [Accessed 17-02-2017 from:].