Three great user-generated social campaigns from 2013 & tips on how you can do it too

Brands doing content marketing effectively this year have harnessed the power of their fans and followers – and created great user-generated social campaigns. This trend has been possible due to the rise of social media, smartphones and tablets. It’s never been easier for people to take photos, make videos, draw pictures and broadcast their opinions instantly via social networks. And the big brands have been quick to solicit, harness, collect and captialise on this growing phenomena –deepening their levels of engagement with the consumer whilst feeding their content-hungry blogs.

Savvy brands that have switched their marketing focus from their products to their customers have shined. Here we take a look at three innovative examples of brands getting UGC right in 2013.

The online travel brand’s research earlier this year found that social media, in particular Facebook, combined with smartphones, is making us more spontaneous. Acting on this feedback it created a unique UGC campaign giving one lucky winner the opportunity to become its Spontaneity Champion in 2014. All the public had to do to enter was to create a one minute video and a 300-word blog about why they should be picked for the ambassadorial role. This month (December) the 10 chosen semi-finalists will be brought to the UK’s capital and challenged to uncover and highlight spontaneity in an allocated district of London. The public then get to vote for their favorite person/couple after watching their video, blog post and photo submissions. The winner will be crowned lastminute’s brand advocate and given £50,000 worth of travel and experiences to blog about in the coming year. Follow #bespontaneous on Twitter for the results.


The French water brand gave Wimbledon’s traditional sponsor, Robinsons, a run for its money this summer by launching the Wimbledon Wiggle UGC contest. The prize was sough-after, money can’t buy at such late notice, VIP tickets to the tennis championships. All the public had to do was send in videos of their version of, what’s been dubbed, the “Wimbledon Wiggle” – a little dance tennis players do before they receive a serve. A special Facebook app was set up where fans could post their attempts at the dance. A number of celebrities even got involved, TV personalities Jonathan Ross and Holly Willoughby among them, helped to promote the campaign to a wider audience.  In addition to the prize – tapping into this year’s selfie obsession - the best videos were broadcast live on two Evian sponsored giant outdoor screen in London throughout the championships.

Heineken's Idea Brewery

Since the launch of the Ideas Brewery in Spring 2012 Heineken has turned to its customers to generate buzz for its products and also help it to develop new, innovative marketing strategies. Heineken's "60+ idea" challenge, the 4th competition to come from the innovative Ideas Brewery, asked fans to share their ideas on how to create a “new drinking experiences for the 60+ generation”.  Entries came in from 19 countries across the globe and six finalists were selected to attend a co-creation workshop in Amsterdam in the summer. Finalists were selected based on a score for innovativeness, technical and commercial feasibility and the number of votes they received on the Ideas Brewery platform.  The winner, Tony Dianoff, from Finland, came up with a range of premium beers, named Fahrenheit +60, that are fermented at 60oC and above to give a fruitier and sweeter taste that also come with added iron – an essential mineral for the older generation. This niche challenge injected external marketing and product innovation to the Heineken team and really gave brand fans a unique CV boosting experience (plus a cheque for $5,000).

We share 5 tips on how you can make UGC work for your business too:

While we don’t all have the budgets that these big brands have to work with, nor the sexy products they have to sell, the techniques they use can be leveraged by any size business to enhance user engagement. Here’s how you can go about it too:


Before embarking on creating a UGC take the time to listen and understand your audience. Use social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, discussion forums and blogs to listen to what people are saying (if anything) about your brand or product. Then work out who is having the conversation, how active are they and who the key influencers are. Tools like Sysomos and Radian6 are great at giving you this insight.


Using the insight you’ve gained from listening to the online social community – come up with a plan to engage, inspire and reward these users. The more unique the prize is, the more successful a campaign will be. If you can afford to, make the reward something money can’t buy or something people will love to brag about to their friends.

Make it simple:

Don’t over-complicate what you’d like people to do for you. It is far easier for someone to submit a picture or send a tweet than it is to create a video – and will reach a wider audience. Make sure your rules are transparent as any problem users experience entering/participating will be broadcast instantly to their social media friends and followers.


Create a dedicated space such as a Flockler site, that can be attached to your main site to share the entries. Don’t forget to select entries to socialise on your Facebook page, Twitter stream or Pinterest board. The Gap Casting Call campaign is a great example of a brand successfully hosting an online gallery for all submissions.


Remember UGC campaigns are more about building a rapport with your customers than measuring numbers. However, we know C-level decision makers just love their stats - so the same tools you used to listen to your customers are the same ones you can use to measure activity too e.g. you can compare the numbers of people talking about your brand before and after the campaign. But the UGC campaign is ultimately about you being able to reach out to new and existing customers and maintaining an ongoing relationship with them over time.

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