How can brands advertise themselves while still maintaining authenticity? The best way to do this is through user generated content (UGC). Since UGC is essentially unpaid content created by the customers of the brand, it is authentic and fosters brand trust among potential customers.
Before we dip into all the ways in which user generated content can help your brand, let us look at 9 of the most successful UGC brand campaigns!
Top User Generated Content Campaigns By Brands + How It Can Help You
Top 9 UGC Campaigns
#1 Starbucks: White Cup Contest
Inspired by all the doodles that customers used to make on their largely white Starbucks cups, the brand announced a White Cup Contest for people in the U.S and Canada. All anyone had to do was use their Starbucks cup as a blank canvas and decorate it with their art, and post it on social media using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The winner would, then, get their design printed on Starbucks’ limited edition plastic cup, and would also receive a $300 gift card!
In the span of three weeks, the brand received more than 4000 entries and a LOT of publicity! The cup with the winning design also became hugely popular, making this UGC campaign a success. This is a great example of how user generated content does not always need to be related to the brand.
#2 iPhone: #ShotOniPhone
When it comes to smartphones, iPhones are widely known to have some of the best cameras. Apple decided to showcase this difference, so they invited users to share their best iPhone pictures with the hashtag #ShotOniPhone. A few winners would get their shots featured on Apple billboards and retail stores. The brand also shares its favorite shots on its Instagram page.
This became one of the most successful UGC campaigns of all time! Apple conducts this campaign periodically, and, currently, the hashtag has over 27M posts on Instagram, turning into an online phenomena! This is a wonderful example of “show, don’t tell.”
#3 Adobe: The Art Maker Series
Since Adobe’s products are geared towards creatives, the brand came up with the Art Maker Series. The brand invited artists and designers to showcase small videos of them creating using one of Adobe’s software such as Illustrator or Photoshop. Adobe used the best of these for its marketing campaigns and endorsements. The artists also got their work featured under the Global Creator’s label on Adobe Creative Cloud. Users can also share their creative work on Instagram using the #adobe_perspective hashtag.
This is a perfect example of a UGC campaign that benefits both the brand as well as its users. Not only did the artists get huge exposure, the brand got stunning tutorial videos that show all the amazing things you can create using their products!
#4 ASOS: #AsSeenOnMe
ASOS, the fashion brand, capitalized on the #OOTD trend by creating a section on their website called “as seen on me.” Here, customers could post pictures of themselves wearing ASOS outfits. They could post the pictures directly on the website or on Instagram with the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe.
This was an excellent idea because other customers get to see how the brand’s clothes look on regular people, instead of just models. This way, they also get to know how the clothes look on people who have a similar body type and skin tone!
#5 Wayfair: #WayfairAtHome
Wayfair, the online furniture store, used to invite their customers to share their home decor setup featuring Wayfair products. By posting their photos with the hashtag #WayfairAtHome, users got a chance to get their pretty room setups featured on the brand’s Instagram page.
The brand would also link to the products from the photos, so that others could purchase them and come up with an equally beautiful setup. This is a great UGC idea because it gives customers the chance to get their design photos featured, and also lets others see the brand’s products in action!
#6 Outdoor Voices: #DoingThings for Fun
Outdoor Voices is an apparel brand known for their athleisure products. Their slogan is “doing things for fun.” Whether it be hiking, or just going out on a field trip, they believe that their customers should have fun while wearing their clothes.
The brand invites people to share photos of them doing things for fun while wearing their clothes with the hashtag #DoingThings. These photos are reposted on the brand’s Instagram page as well as their website with a link so that others can shop the look. Letting others see your products in action works wonders for marketing – especially if the content comes from actual users themselves!
#7 Buffer: #BufferCommunity
Buffer is a social media management tool that lets you do various things like schedule your posts, analyze your engagement metrics and so on, to help you boost your social media performance.
Buffer came up with an amazing idea of asking people who use their tool to share their stories on Instagram by using the hashtag #BufferCommunity or #BufferStories. This led to a myriad of people sharing everything – right from travel tips to marketing tips.
The idea is to build a community of users and show them that the brand cares about what they have to say. This campaign ended up helping Buffer grow their Instagram account by a whopping 400% in just a year!
#8 Doritos: Legion of the Bold
Doritos, the chip brand, came up with a unique UGC campaign where they created a website called “legion of the bold” (now known as Legion of Creators) with branded images of their products. The brand, then, invites users to create their own Doritos content around a particular theme using these images, in exchange for a chance to win some cash.
Users came up with all sorts of creative things – from new recipes using Doritos to hilarious memes using the chips. The brand keeps announcing several of these challenges from time to time, and it works wonders because it speaks to their target audience!
#9 Aerie: #AerieREAL
Aerie (short for American Eagle Lingerie), an intimate apparel brand, announced its #AerieREAL campaign where it promised to post “real” photos of their models without any retouching to promote body positivity.
With the first #AerieREAL ads, th