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7 great user generated content campaigns examples

21st Oct 2016
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You work hard for your customers. Why not get them to do a bit of work for you? User generated content is a great way to get customers excited about your brand and engaged on your social media pages. It’s also a great way to get lots of great content. So, what is user generated or crowd sourced content? Essentially, it is anything that  users share with you that you can then post on your website or social media pages. This could include on site reviews, videos, pictures, and stories. In fact, user generated content campaigns work so well that many popular brands use this method of customer engagement frequently. Here are six brands who have really hit it out of the park with their user generated content efforts.

1. Starbucks - The White Cup Contest


This simple concept from Starbucks became what is probably the most well known UGC campaigns ever. The brand simply provided customers with a white cup, then asked them to decorate the cups. Of course, they turned it into a contest as well. Customer response was amazing. People decorated their cups, took pictures, and uploaded them. It was a huge success. In only three weeks, the company had received more than 4,000 submissions. The winner, an art student had the honor of having her cup turned into an actual product.

2. Amerisleep Mattresses – Using Customer Reviews


Customer reviews are not the most exciting content perhaps, but they are, nevertheless, pretty important user-generated content. We have become consumers of information, and rarely do we make a purchase without looking for what others say about the product or service. We have also become suspicious of reviews that companies post on their websites – are these real customers? Amerisleep has posted over 1,000 reviews on its site but has gone one step further to demonstrate that they are real. It is using a service called “Power Reviews,” a company that verifies customer reviews as coming from actual customers and assigns badges to those reviews. Lots of companies are using this or other like services, so that consumer trust is built.

3. Lay’s - Do us a Flavor


How do biscuit and gravy potato chips sound? What about a sriracha flavored potato chip? Would you eat gyro flavored chip or a cappuccino chip? Lay’s asked customers to submit potato chip flavor ideas. Followers then voted on their favorites online. The final four were then produced and sold. Customers were then encouraged to purchase their chips, and pick a grand prize winner. It didn’t hurt that Lay’s was willing to put a million dollars on the line.

How successful was the campaign? Several years later, it is still going strong with a new contest being started each year. People are still eagerly submitted their interesting flavor ideas, and customers are still buying and trying.

4. Coca Cola - Share a Coke

The summer of 2014 was the summer of “Share a Coke,” and users flocked to this campaign. It had several facets, and each one went viral because of user-generated posts.

First, the company swapped out its logo on 20-ounce bottles for the most popular names of American teens and millennials. It then challenged customers to find their names, names of family members, or even names of people they would like to get to know better, and then to post pictures of themselves with those bottles on their social media pages.

One digital campaign allowed users to access the website and personalize a virtual bottle of Coke, Diet Coke, or Zero, and then share that bottle with their social media friends. Variations included “gifting” bottles to friends with their names. Once the virtual bottle was created, users could automatically share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

The Share-A-Coke campaign was flamed completely by user generated content and very little marketing by Coca-Cola was needed, once those campaign activities were launched.

5. Lowe’s - Fix in Six


This campaign had do it yourself enthusiasts ‘doing it for the vine’. A vine is a six second video where the producer attempts to make an impactful statement. Vine producers may go for humor, shock value, or other emotions. Lowe’s took advantage of the recent popularity of vines to reach out to a younger audience. The idea was simple. Get audience members to share six second DIY or home improvement videos. The result was that a company who normally appeals to an older audience was able to get younger people excited about their brand.

6. Nintendo Corp. - Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker has taken the world by storm, by allowing players to create their own worlds throughout one of the most beloved gaming franchises. Super Mario Maker not only allows the player to build and create their own levels, but it also allows players to opportunity to connect to the internet. Where they can share their levels, as well as play levels that others have created as well.

The result has been an enormous amount of shares and engagement on social media sites. YouTube posts and reposts were especially popular during this campaign. This crowd sourced content marketing effort was clearly a big hit among Super Mario fans.

7. ModCloth - Style Gallery




ModCloth doesn’t just have a user generated campaign. They have essentially built their entire business model around crowdsourcing content from their followers. Their website features customer reviews and even feedback on how the clothing they sell fits. One of their most notable uses of crowdsourced content is their style gallery. There, customers share pictures of themselves wearing clothing that they have purchased from the company. The pics that get the most love are prominently featured.

If you use your imagination, there really isn’t any brand that couldn’t create a successful crowdsourced, content marketing campaign. After all, the list above ranges from a hardware store to a coffee shop to a potato chip company. Done right, a great user generated content marketing effort can increase traffic, create engagement, and ultimately help boost conversions. You might even find that your efforts result in the creation of a few enthusiastic brand ambassadors.

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