Going Viral: 4 UGC Ad Campaigns That Took Social Media by Storm

April 18, 2023

Do your traditional advertising campaigns feel stale?

Are your social media posts lacking engagement?

Do you want to boost brand loyalty and trust?

Then you may want to try a UGC ad campaign!

User-generated content is a great way to promote your products on social media. By getting followers involved, you can increase your online presence and highlight the real value that your offerings can bring to consumers.

The successful UGC ad campaign:

  • Appeals to your target audience and is easily shareable
  • Offers incentives like prizes or social media features to inspire participation
  • Gives simple directions for users to follow
  • Keeps users engaged and shows your appreciation for them

At Bambassadors, we partner with top brands to help them get user-generated videos that sell their products. Our solution connects companies with real people who create authentic assets that are high-performing and drive ROAS.

This is our bread and butter, and we’re here to help!

Ready for your company to go viral? Here are four UGC ad campaigns that can offer inspiration!

Coca-Cola’s #ShareaCoke Campaign

Coca-Cola’s marketing campaigns are always on point. Their consistent advertising and messaging across all digital platforms keep their products relevant after being in business for over a century.

The proof is in the statistics:

  • The soft drink company’s brand awareness is at a whopping 96% in the United States
  • In October 2022, about 47% of U.S. soft drink drinkers had heard about Coca-Cola in the media, on social media, or in advertising over the past three months
  • 85% of Coca-Cola drinkers show loyalty to the brand

The soft drink company loves making their loyal customers the focal point of their advertising strategies. Even though it’s a few years old, their #ShareaCoke campaign is a great case study.

It all started when the marketing team in Australia printed 150 of the most common male and female names on bottle labels. By personalizing each bottle, they aimed to encourage people to gift their loved ones a bottle of Coke with their name on it.

What began as an Aussie-led ad campaign became a global UGC campaign in 80 other countries. Coca-Cola drinkers worldwide got so excited to see their names on their favorite soft drink that they began making content to post on social media. From fun photos to narrative-driven videos, real people used #ShareaCoke to show off their personalized bottles. Even celebrities like Selena Gomez got in on the fun!

At Bambassadors, we understand the importance of aligning authentic videos with a fun hashtag or engaging call-to-action. You can see value in this combination through Coca-Cola’s clever use of #ShareaCoke and its encouragement of UGC content. It sparked sales and digital engagement for the brand worldwide. It teaches us that personalization can go a long way in engaging customers with a product. Today, over 621,000 posts use #ShareaCoke on Instagram.

Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins Campaign

Calvin Klein remains one of the most popular clothing brands today–and their #MyCalvins campaign inspired young UGC creators to post unfiltered photos of themselves in the brand’s underwear and loungewear.

You may be familiar with the classic brand’s tagline, as whispered by Brooke Shields: “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.”

But their UGC ad campaign sparked a REAL interest in REAL people wearing the brand, not just celebrities.

Calvin Klein asked its followers to snap a photo of themselves wearing their briefs and completing the caption: “I ____ in my Calvins.”

At the campaign’s start, the #MyCalvins hashtag was flooded with over 190,000 photos, and today it is at a startling 873,000 on Instagram. The trend has taken over other social networks, including TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter, allowing the brand to gain millions of new followers worldwide.

Why was this UGC ad campaign a success?

For starters, #MyCalvins was an inclusive trend emphasizing body positivity and diversity in fashion and modeling. Rather than hiring models to wear its underwear, the brand highlighted the natural beauty of its customers.

Consumers today want to relate to who is creating content. We prioritize relatability by recruiting creators who understand our client’s target audience and are passionate about their products. UGC campaigns are the most successful when they resonate with the user–and Calvin Klein’s use of empowering visuals and messaging spoke to its diverse consumer base.

National Geographic’s #WanderlustContest

Do you have wanderlust? Then you’ll love National Geographic’s #WanderlustContest campaign!

The well-known travel network tapped into its viewers’ creativity and photography skills by promoting a unique competition. They asked their customers to post their best photos from their travel adventures using #WanderlustContest. The winner was rewarded with a seven-day photo expedition in Yosemite National Park with a professional photographer.

This once-in-a-lifetime prize sparked users worldwide to share their photos with the brand and the world. They received so many inspiring submissions that the brand began using them in their paid ads and organic content strategies!

Since then, National Geographic has organized many similar contests, including one for National Geographic Kids and another for National Geographic Traveler. We love this campaign because it continues to get customers involved annually. They even have a photography community now on Instagram.

Apple’s #ShotOniPhone Campaign

Many brands kickstart UGC ad campaigns to show their customers that they listen to their wants and needs. Rather than responding to feedback in the comments section, some of our clients turn consumer criticisms into a positive learning experience.

Apple prioritized the satisfaction of iPhone users with their #ShotOniPhone campaign. After receiving feedback from their customers being disappointed in the quality of their phone cameras, they decided to challenge users to try all of their features and macro capabilities for themselves. They asked their followers to post their iPhone pics online with the hashtag #ShotOniPhone. Apple encouraged both professional photographers and hobbyists to show off their skills for a chance to be featured on their website and social networks.

Kaiann Drance, the VP of iPhone Marketing at Apple, sat down with Apple Insider to explain the reasoning behind this strategy:

"One of the things we believe at Apple is that the true potential of our products is fully realized when it gets into the hands of our users," she said. "This challenge, in particular, really showcases that beautifully as we have people from all different backgrounds."

The campaign began in 2020 and is a prominent part of Apple’s marketing today. Whether they are asking users to capture an image in Nightmode or make a music video from their phone, the tech giant will continue taking social media by storm.

In other words: don’t underestimate the power of user-generated content. If you’re looking for a company that empowers your brand to scale through UGC campaigns, then let’s talk.