There is nothing hotter in the world of marketing right now than user generated content (UGC) campaigns. Advertising agencies and brands worldwide are trying to tap into the immense power of their fan/customer base and use their authentic and original content to power their marketing campaigns.
Take a look at ten of the best user generated content campaigns:
Belkin – Lego iPhone Case
Last year Belkin created one of the coolest, most customizable iPhone cases in a partnership with Lego that had Lego studs on the back of the case. Belkin asked their customers to showoff their creativity and how each one personalized their case by tagging their Instagram photos with #LEGOxBelkin.
The integration of user-generated content onto a product page as a way to help sell a product is a brilliant idea. It allowed Belkin to let its customers do the selling for them, showing potential customers how cool the case could be in a very authentic and organic manner.
T-Mobile – Breakup Letter
In an attempt to steal away customers from it’s competitors, T-Mobile offered to pay the contract cancellation fees of any person who “broke up” with their existing cell phone service and switched to T-Mobile. They launched an ‘Un-Valentines Day’ with a Facebook app that let people create a custom break up letter to their carrier and print it out or share it on their social networks.
This type of user generated content is great because T-Mobile has made a very friction-less way to generate the content and still maintained some control of the messaging through the Facebook app. The campaign was a success, with over 80,000 breakup letters photos posted across various social media sites, but that number not necessarily correlating with the number of people who left their carriers and switched to T-Mobile.
Estée Lauder – Breast Cancer Action, not Awareness
Estee Lauder took a proactive approach to their global breast cancer awareness campaign in 2013, wanting not to just promote breast cancer awareness, but to get people to start prevention today. The theme of the campaign was “Stronger Together,” encouraging women to create a ‘Circle of Strength’ with their friends and make commitments to schedule mammograms, eat healthy food, go on daily walks, and support each other in their efforts.
The Circles of Strength were displayed in a social hub alongside inspirational Instagram photos and tweets as part of the campaign and gave visitors the opportunity to donate money to the cause as well. The mix of inspiration social content with actionable commitments by real people gave this campaign a real human element that wouldn’t be possible without the contribution of women all over the world.
Independent Lens – Don’t Stop Believin’
Is there anybody who doesn’t love singing the lyrics to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing?”
That is what Independent Lens was betting on when they launched a UGC campaign for the premiere of the film Don’t Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey, which follows the real life rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from YouTube to become the front man for iconic American rock band Journey.
They asked fans to sing their version of the classic song to Vine and Instagram and tag it with #dontstopbelievin, with the best entries being featured on a highly entertaining social hub. Independent Lens did a fantastic job with this contest, making it very fun, engaging, and something everyone could participate in. I bet we will see more and more of similar contests like this as musicians and artists take even more interest and control in their social media marketing.
TEDxPortland – What is Perfect?
To promote this year’s TEDxPortland event, the organizers worked with digital agency Instrument to develop an app that overlaid the word ‘Perfect’ over user-generated photos that were shared to Instagram and Twitter. The “Perfect” photos were brilliant marketing for the conference that helped build social buzz as everyone wanted to know what the “Perfect” photos were about.
The organizers didn’t let those photos go to waste either, projecting all the photos on an 80ft tall honeycomb stage design in between talks at the conference. The result was an impressive display where attendees felt like they were apart of making the entire conference “Perfect.”
Warby Parker – Home Try-On
Warby Parker decided to take the clever approach of integrating user-generated content into the purchasing process when they introduced their Home Try-On service in 2012. The free service ships five pairs to a person’s home to try on for five days, where they are encouraged to take pictures of themselves with the different glasses on and share it to their social accounts with the hashtag #WarbyHomeTryOn.
The service is a win for both the consumer and Warby Parker: the consumer gets valuable feedback from their social network on which look they prefer and the brand gets more exposure on social media, free advertising of their products, and a potential customer that is that much closer to purchasing.
Target – Acceptance Letter
Target went right for the heartstrings in one of their best campaigns yet, asking for videos of high school seniors opening and reading letters from colleges and then packaging up the best ones into a compelling commercial. The gleeful, animated reactions to teens being accepted to colleges and universities rang with excitement and authenticity. Some videos were clear, some fuzzy. A few of the students were calm and confident, but many leapt into the air, screamed, and celebrated gleefully.
My wife and I both just teared up watching a Target commercial. Sheesh. As a marketer I should KNOW better.
— Austin L. Church (@austinlchurch) July 28, 2012
Target coupled the commercial with a commitment to education, announcing huge increases in educational funding and donations to K-12 education. Target, having already pledged to donate $500 million by the summer of 2010, promised to double it in upcoming years, culminating in a cool billion by the end of 2015. And whenever your commercial can make a marketer cry, you know you’ve done a good job.
Nissan – #VersaVid Vines
Nissan took advantage of the popularity of stop-motion photography on Vine with their VersaVid campaign, asking Nissan fans to print out a 3D picture of the car, cut, fold and assemble it, and then create a short video of an adventure in a Versa. The artists of Vine filled Nissan’s channels with Versas on construction paper roadtrips, carpet races, and, of course, cats.
Nissan incentivized participation in the contest by offering $1,000 Amazon gift cards to six contestants and a chance for their Vine to be featured in a Nissan commercial. They promoted the contest through their microsite YourDoortoMore.com as well as partnerships with Mashable.
Chobani – Real Love Stories
Chobani asked it’s fan base to show a little love, and the fans delivered. Real fans made original videos like the ones above, creative photos, and left praise on social media channels about their favorite greek yogurt, supplying Chobani with an impressive amount of UGC to use for marketing purposes. Tweets were put on billboards, videos were featured on their website, and others were sent out to their social media followers.
“We wanted a ‘consumer-up’ campaign, to tap into and extend the ‘Chobani love’ that is rapidly spreading across the country.” The authentic campaign was a hit with consumers, with sales up 225% from the same period a year before.
Pepsi MAX – MAX It Now Competition
Pepsi MAX put out a challenge in honor of their partnership with NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon: 24 of of them in fact. Pictures, posts, videos and drawings came in droves to Pepsi MAX on Facebook and Twitter, hoping to win Pepsi Max and Jeff Gordon fan items. Points were awarded for each challenge, a top ten was chosen, and finally a grand prize winner was selected to attend a race during the Chase for the Cup, where the winner managed Pepsi Max social media, blogged, and got to meet and interview Gordon himself.
“Whereas traditional sweepstakes are a bit of a mystery and no one expects to win, with MAX It Now, we were able to be transparent about who was receiving prizes and why and gamified the whole experience,” said the Pepsi MAX rep. The campaign was a success, with more than 7,300 entrants and over 700 images of Pepsi MAX cans posted to social sites.