Ideals Of User-Generated Content Campaigns

Within a marketing context, user-generated content (UGC) is digital content that users create that somehow relates to a brand’s marketing efforts. UGC can be a selfie that a user submits to a brand’s photo contest, a comment or reply to a brand’s social post, or other media creations.

UGC appeals to brands because of its low cost (i.e. the brand seldom pays users for their labor) and potential for wide reach (i.e. UGC is often shared by users to their own networks).

Ideally, UGC campaigns contain the following three aspects:

1. The UGC is valuable for users to create,
2. The UGC is valuable for users to consume, and
3. The UGC is brand-relevant.

Doing It Right: Starbucks

The Starbucks White Cup Contest harnessed an activity that people already enjoyed — doodling within the white space of their Starbucks cups. With the incentive of being featured on a limited-edition Starbucks cup, submissions to #WhiteCupContest produced a diverse array of creativity. Also of note is that the White Cup Contest was initially created and supported by the My Starbucks Idea user community.


Doing It Right: Budweiser

Budweiser’s Paint The World app on Facebook allows fans to support their favored World Cup team by overlaying a country’s flag on a photo of their face. The Paint The World app is easy to use and the end product is a self-expressive (and goofy) sign of support, sure to spark controversy from Facebook friends with different national tastes.

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Doing It Right: Lay’s

The Lay’s Do Us A Flavor web app allowed users to come up with their own chip flavor names and ingredients. Certain user-generated flavors that referenced inside jokes (e.g. one about the TV show Psych that generated an 86% approval rating within the Psych subreddit, and another about the movie Hannibal that generated a 79% approval rating within the Horror subreddit).

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