I’ll show you how great I am.
You show me how great I am.
Which do you prefer?
Marketers spend billions persuading us that they’re the next hot thing, that we deserve it, that what we’re getting is value for money. Sure we believe it, for a while. Then the pandering grates on our nerves. We feel irritated. Next time that youtube ad interrupts our viewing experience, we click the damn thing off. It’s annoying enough waiting a few seconds for Google’s homepage to load on our phones, so why would we want to waste time watching something that isn’t authentic? Entertain me, don’t hard-sell me.
The premise is incredibly simple.
Problem: in this age of increased autonomy, customers no longer tolerate being sold to and switch off. Solution: allow customers to create content themselves that is authentic and engaging; give them agency to sell your product for you. Ultimately people trust word-of-mouth recommendations over brands who have their own selfish agenda. So allow those authentic voices to work for your brand. To inspire you, below are five examples of User Generated Campaigns that rocked:
1) Tourism Queensland’s Best Job In The World
Remember this one? Tourism Queensland wanted to attract people to the island but they didn’t have a massive budget. Instead, they came up with a brainwave of posting the best job in the world, which applicants could enter via a video pitch. The campaign got a whopping 35,000 video applications, an estimated $368 million in media coverage and 8.4 million unique website visits. Geez. If that doesn’t show the power of UGC, I don’t know what does.
2) Adidas – Break Free
Hard to believe this was made by a 26 year old German student at film school. The simple story of a retired marathon runner who gets his last burst of freedom got over 11 million hits. What a pity that Adidas didn’t capitalise on this free publicity; they could have totally used this to their advantage by publicizing it further, but instead – “We tried sending it to [their] communications department but they didn’t really react.” Lost your opportunity there, Adidas.
Give your hip, young audience the platform to share their fashion and your clothes sell themselves. The best thing is that it’s also creating a community of like-minded people who can inspire each other and voice their expressivity. At the heart of this clothing brand is the opportunity for self-expression and authenticity, two core values that are hit by User Generated Campaigns. Success all round.
4) Five Guys
It’s just a guy sitting in his car raving about Five Guys burgers and fries (“you bite the fries, the fries bite back!”). But oh boy, isn’t his personality wonderful. The video on youtube got over 8 million hits, and ended up landing him a Travel Channel show reviewing fast foods. It even spawned a viral online song by the Gregory Brothers that got nearly 32 million hits. That’s a total of nearly 40 million free impressions on customers solely by word-of-mouth, more than any expensive print ad campaign could ever reach.
Daymon still does reviews, though after some strict words from his mother he now covers healthier foods.
5) Gucci #24HourAce
Gucci’s reputation as artfully cool has gained immense strides under the leadership of Alessandro Michele. When its Ace line of white leather trainers came out in 2016, Gucci ran a #24HourAce campaign, which included videos by various creatives from embroiderers to animators to skaters. The videos are not strictly UGC because Gucci individually commissioned artists around the world to do their own interpretation of a 1 min video. A luxury take on User Generated Campaigns, if you like. They do all however have a certain ‘home-spun’ feel, and you could imagine customers reacting to the brief by producing their own, non-commissioned videos.
So there you have it, five User Generated Campaigns that (sometimes inadvertently) produced remarkable results for brands. User Generated Campaigns are huge drivers of social engagement, and have remarkable potential to go viral. Yes, it might mean that brands sometimes relinquish control over their own image, but for the increased engagement, publicity and authentic community they’re gaining, it’s a gamble well worth taking.
Oh, and if you need a UGC strategy for your brand, we know exactly how to help 😉
Too salesy? Yup, too salesy.