All the people at Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen -- a local restaurant chain in California -- wanted was a catchy name for their forthcoming green apple-flavored Mountain Dew beverage creation. Having faith in their loyal, caffeine-addicted, corn syrup-lovin' customers, they jumped on the crowdsourcing bandwagon and delegated the task to the public.
Unfortunately for the earnest restauranteurs, 4Chan (and/or Reddit) users were most happy to oblige.
If threads spotted on the two forums are to be believed, hackers used vote-rigging software to game the naming campaign, eventually taking over the name leaderboard with classy suggestions like "Hitler did nothing wrong," "Fapple," and "Diabeetus," not to mention a whole bundle of inappropriate plays on the Granny Smith Apple.
4Chan is the same group that recently aimed its attentions on a Burger King employee allegedly caught stepping on lettuce.
The campaign site, Dubthedew.com, has been taken offline. And Mountain Dew has acknowledged the epic marketing fail in a statement and responses on Twitter like this one:"Dub the Dew definitely lost to The Internet."
While that clean-up is ongoing, Mountain Dew itself is rolling the dice with a new campaign to come up with regional names for a malt-flavored Dew beverage. So far that contest remains uncompromised, with the campaign going so far as to offer some "inspiration" for entries, with suggestions like "Voodoo Brew." Wisely, there's not a single mention of Hitler or diabetes to be found.
Updated at 12:35pm, 8/16/2012, to reflect the fact that the beverage naming contest originated with a local restaurant chain and not Mountain Dew or PepsiCo.