The COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm for brands, production companies, and creative agencies.
Online demand for content grew as the world went into lockdown. Audiences swarmed to social to seek out the interactions they were no longer experiencing in the real world. Interactions that go beyond typical polished, high-production campaigns, and instead focus on real lives, real human connections, and authentic touch points with relatable creative content.
However, despite the intensified demand brands, production companies, and creative agencies struggled with multi-faceted challenges - remote working, lack of resources, budget constraints, halted production schedules, the battle for relevance, and reduced agility to respond to a fast-changing world.
The result - a rapidly widening gap between the amount and type of content which audiences desired, and the amount of content advertisers and marketers could conceivably produce.
Some brands did successfully raise the stakes - turning to user-generated content (UGC) to fill the creative content void.
Why did brands pivot to UGC?
UGC is fresh content on tap. It’s cost effective, you can get it straight into production, and most importantly it tells higher-impact, more compelling stories that resonate deeper with audiences. User-generated content offers a new way to generate creative content quickly, demonstrate values in the real world, and tell compelling stories that are, above all, authentic and relatable for audiences.
In no particular order, here are a few stand-out UCG campaigns from some of our most favourite household names. What these campaigns all have in common is that they shine a light on the real moments that help create a truly compelling narrative, and drive a deeper connection with audiences:
- Virgin Media
Virgin Media’s Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Connected campaign used UGC to tell the story of how people were spending their time in isolation. This championed all the ingenious ways people everywhere were building connections through the power of internet and mobile – whether that be staying fit, rocking out, virtual dining, finding love, or good old fashioned comfort and support. The campaign truly tuned into the spirit of the nation, and a level of genuine human emotion in a way that couldn’t have been achieved with a traditional ad campaign.
KitKat harnessed UGC to showcase a new take on ‘have a break, have a KitKat’. Three carefully sourced and selected clips enabled the brand to continue engaging with its audience through this difficult time. From a dad letting his kids cut his hair, a guy pretending to grill hamburgers on the screen of his television, or a zany chap self-tanning with a heater, KitKat successfully connected their indulgent treats with audiences’ indulgent desire to laugh at the crazy ways people filled their free time during lockdown
Oreo captured imaginations with their #stayplayful campaign. Playfulness has always been part of the Oreo brand’s DNA, so this highly relatable, fun and emotive campaign urged people to keep up the playful moments in lockdown with their favourite biscuit. Oreo used a myriad of UGC clips to inspire the world to keep the playful spirit alive.
As lockdown starting to ease, Fiat launched a safety campaign using UGC. Two carefully selected UGC clips not only promoted staying at home, but also reassured customers that Fiat was there for them. This UGC campaign truly brought optimism to the forefront at a time when car manufacturers, and their customers, needed it most.
Start creating original, different and loveable content
One other thing these brand all have in common is that they were created in partnership with Newsflare.
If you’re looking to fill the creative content gap, Newsflare makes accessing and getting UGC into production easy. Bringing art and science together, we combine the optimisation capability of AI, algorithms and sophisticated martech to track, filter and predict, with the power of human research expertise. We expose existing, and generate new, unexpected, disruptive and unique content that will help you build brand loyalty, up-scale authenticity and credibility, and encourage engagement and share-ability.