Does User Generated Content (UGC) work? More specifically, can a campaign reliant on UGC work? We think it can, provided the idea is carried out the right way. The best part about UGC campaigns is the element of risk involved with them; as far as content creation is concerned, UGC campaigns take a little relinquishing of control on the marketers part.

Granted, UGC platforms have come under fire for not being professional enough. Remember the great journalism debates over self-publishing on blogs? However, there are distinct advantages to taking this road, especially in terms of the creativity that gets channeled through people in different corners of the world.

Just so you know, we like the idea of building community through a common cause. It gives us warm fuzzies everywhere.

Think about it. If you’re creating a campaign from a crowd-sourced idea or content, you’re making the room to create a huge fan following by making your brand a lot more accessible than it probably has been.


 
Case in point: Doritos and their UGC Super-Bowl commercials. Doritos invited their audiences to create and send in their own Super Bowl commercials with a chance to win a very cool $1 million and have their ad aired during the Super Bowl.

The advantages here are self-evident. First of all, crowd-sourcing new content keeps production costs at a definite minimum. With countless numbers of talented amateurs and home grown video enthusiasts out and about, the production costs for creating video and then laying down media buys for dissemination are cut down, in some cases, by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Secondly, there’s always a new perspective and new insights to be had. You don’t really know what brand means to other people or how they connect with it until you offer them a chance to create or recreate an insular perspective that’s carried by a select group of people.

Finally, with a built-in potential for going viral, UGC campaigns offer an unprecedented opportunity for social engagement. While there’s no set formula to get millions of people talking about what you want to share and have to say, there’s no doubt that human connection is the basic driver.

It’s a simple principle. Don’t tell people what they need. Ask them and then deliver.