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3 ways to effectively crowdsource your advertising content

4 min read

Marketing Strategy

Wil Merritt is CEO of Zooppa, a firm for online video contests and design competitions. He has also served as a senior vice president for Corbis and spent 18 years with Time-Warner in posts worldwide, including president for Europe, Middle East and Africa for the TIME and Fortune publishing division.

Crowdsourcing has evolved from a buzzword into a practical approach for organizations and individuals. Today, it enables various tasks to be accomplished faster and more thoroughly using the latest technology and social media tools.

Software development, malaria research and fundraising for the arts are all notable examples of fields in which crowdsourcing has not only been employed successfully, but delivered impressive results.

Brand marketers are also using this practice to source a new generation of creative content for promotional campaigns. But mobilizing a crowd’s creativity requires much more strategy and art than offering cash awards and hoping for the best. In fact, there are companies out there — Zooppa among them — who specialize in helping marketers maximize the success of their creative crowdsourcing efforts. At Zooppa we’ve found that, at the end of the day, the key to crowdsourcing content successfully is designing a proper creative platform that inspires your crowd to create — by helping them conceptualize the need your brand tries to fulfill.

Below are three examples of how companies have worked with Zooppa and used carefully constructed creative briefs to generate compelling content. The examples come from an online retailer, a consumer package goods brand and a corporate advertiser.

  1. Take your value proposition to the crowd. AmazonWireless allows visitors to buy mobile devices from nearly all major carriers online, using all of the great features of which Amazon shoppers are accustomed. The online retailer’s “Freedom to Choice” video contest asked video makers to demonstrate — in a humorous way — how AmazonWireless eliminates the frustration synonymous with the typical mobile phone purchase path. More than 90 videos were submitted, showing how the service’s great selection, service and prices made shopping for a new mobile device a frustration-free experience compared with purchasing one in a physical store.
  2. Ask fans to participate in defining your brand’s market position. Silk Soymilk held the “Better for You, Better for the Earth” video contest in March, asking participants to help the brand challenge dairy as a delicious and nutritious alternative. Silk sought 30-second videos that underscored the personal health and ecological benefits of their product, encouraging entrants to be dramatic, aspirational or funny to capture the brand’s bold personality. The campaign resulted in more than 130 commercials that featured, among others, a rapping cow and a Dirty Harry-inspired “Power Milkman,” who portray Silk as a fun and plucky rival to its dairy counterpart.
  3. Inspire people to visualize the future your brand is creating. Siemens, a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, thought big when they launched their “Changing Your City for the Better” video contest.  The visionary campaign, which complemented the company’s new storytelling format /answers, sought personal, unbranded mini-documentaries about how technology can build a better future for the participants’ local communities. The brief inspired 118 video makers from 26 countries on six continents to submit their story, helping Siemens obtain an unfiltered community perspective on the importance of sustainable development in their industry.

These are just three examples, but the beauty of crowdsourcing content for your promotional efforts is its flexibility. If your product or service solves a unique problem for consumers, you’re in a position to inspire each of them to creatively share their relationship with your brand. It’s a compelling “faster-better-cheaper” proposition in the age of empowering your new generation of customers: advertising by the people, for the people.