Set Your Ideas Free

How crowd-sourcing helps create cut-through content for brands

Kara Melchers

Managing Editor, BITE Creativebrief


We now live in a connected world where creativity flows freely. This has led brands to exchange ideas and collaborate with their customers, influencing new products, behaviour and communications.

Back in 2009, giffgaff launched as a crowd-sourced brand, empowering its members to influence its service offer and customer support. Consumers taking part in product development is a well-established trend. Walker’s ‘Do

Us a Flavour’ competition started back in 2008 and is a concept that’s been replicated many times. There are clear benefits in crowd-sourcing for brands. As Andrew Needham, the CEO of research agency Face said, “By opening innovation processes to outside voices, organisations not only gain a broader range of perspectives to enrich the innovation gene pool, they also gain valuable scale.”

Big corporations increasingly embrace and encourage customer collaboration through dedicated online programmes. Febreze used Procter & Gamble’s Connect and Develop initiative to grow their brand into a billion dollar business. Rather than reinventing a category where others had existing expertise, they collaborated with external companies through the platform. Similarly, the Unilever Foundry is an initiative to encourage collaboration with start-ups. In February, they established a central hub, IDEAS, to manage crowd-sourced activity.

Crowd-sourcing and collaboration can add value to marketing campaigns as well as product development. It enables brands to connect on a more personal level and can help turn customers into fans. Ben Tollet, ECD of adam&eveDDB, summed this up at Advertising Week 2015, “Stop having ideas of your own. Ideas belong to everyone. Make it as big as it can be”.

Read on for examples…

Iceland Wants Travellers To “Ask Gudmundur”

Iceland’s marketing activity, following the devastating ash cloud in 2010, has transformed the tourism industry.

The latest iteration of ‘Inspired By Iceland’ once again looks to the residents of the country to tell their own story. Iceland launched its own ‘human search engine’ to connect potential tourists to seven real people in the country, all named Gudmundur. The name was emblematic because 98% of the world’s Gudmundur’s reside in Iceland.

The idea builds on Iceland’s reputation for tailoring tourist experiences to individuals.

Tourists asked questions, mainly relating to local food, climate and adventures, through Facebook and Twitter with the #AskGudmundur hashtag. They then received answers from one of the Gudmundurs situated in various parts of Iceland, who responded with some of the country’s best kept secrets. The content from the conversations appears on Iceland’s YouTube channel, Instagram and other social feeds.

Agency: The Brooklyn Brothers, London

uses of #AskGudmundur hashtag
media value (PR + social)

Primark Fans Create Real-Time Fashion Trends

The re-launch of involved raising product awareness, engaging customers and driving traffic to stores. The result, Primania, is a real-time fashion lookbook curated by fans. Customers can upload their selfies and tag the clothes in their outfit. There is also the opportunity to vote on the looks and enter a weekly style competition. A location-based element was introduced, with each look tagged to the nearest Primark store, allowing the retailer to curate and celebrate local micro trends.

Agency: Lowe Profero

Ubisoft Gamers Personalise Their Own Assassin

Ubisoft put the customer at the centre of its campaign for the Assassin’s Creed Unity. The game’s fans were first invited to create and personalise their own assassin. Then, when the official trailer was released, they could explore it online, searching through over 1,400 assassins that had been selected from the gamers’ creations to find their own. The campaign helped Ubisoft to build a relationship with fans and made anticipation of the game a more personal experience.

Agency: Sid Lee

Apple Inspire With Photography On The Iphone 6

To advertise the new iPhone 6, Apple crowd-sourced photography shot using the new device. The imagery portrayed the global reach of the iPhone and the creativity and aspirational lives of Apple brand fans.

An online gallery featured selected imagery which also appears on posters and in print ads around the world. The campaign, which launched in March, is now being extended to include video shot using the phone. This will provide content for cinema and online rich media.

Agency: TBWA Media Arts Lab

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