How Coca Cola and Bud Light are Cashing in with User-Generated Content

It’s no secret that content marketing is a major force in advertising right now. Simply having a blog can give a company website 434% more indexed pages, but maintaining a blog can put a lot of strain on a marketing team. However, Coca Cola and Bud Light seem to have found a way to shift the weight of content creation off of marketers with user-generated content.

Coca Cola recently released a TV commercial using short video clips generated almost entirely by consumers and fans. Teenagers were asked to submit short video clips describing the sensation of sipping coke. The final 40 clips were selected out of a pool of 400 international submissions, and the ad was aired during the season finale of American Idol.

Anheuser-Busch Bud Light’s user-generated ad campaign took a different approach. The multibillion-dollar beer company set up camp in Crested Butte, CO. in September, transforming the small town into a beer-lover’s heaven.

As part of the beer company’s “Up for Whatever” weekend, 1,000 fans were brought in on branded airplanes and buses. They entered the town through branded gates and were greeted by a Bud Light-blue Main Street decorated with coordinating light poles. Over 100,000 fans auditioned to be part of the event.

The question among many marketers is: do these extreme options actually work?

The answer, at least in these two cases, is yes. Coca Cola’s campaign engaged hundreds of fans around the world, prompting them to create user-generated advertisements for the company that will likely remain on the web even if they didn’t make the final cut. They engaged their fanbase, increased consumer loyalty, and generated dozens of testimonials that are indisputably genuine.

Bud Light generated a massive amount of user-generated content from their branded weekend party. Bud Light’s cameras were on and filming the whole time, and they still have access to the 100,000 testimonials submitted as audition tapes by those who wanted to attend. Party goers were encouraged to share their experiences on social media, creating a wealth of social media traffic for no extra cost to the company.

Both tactics go to show that the benefits associated with events that promote user-generated content are often well worth the risk.

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