In 2007, Doritos released the first ever consumer-created Super Bowl ad. The ad was part of what would become Doritos’ famous “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign. The idea behind this marketing strategy was simple, yet groundbreaking. Every year, Doritos asked its biggest fans to submit their own original videos for the chance to win the Super Bowl slot. For a decade, Doritos fans submitted thousands of videos, all while commenting, voting and sharing their favourites. Although the ads were far from sophisticated, they performed incredibly well. The winning spots earned top-five rankings on the USA Today Ad Meter
every year in which they aired, including four No. 1 rankings, and Ace Metrix
ranks Doritos No. 1 on its list of the most effective Super Bowl advertised brands from 2010-2015, ahead of Pepsi, Coke, Budweiser and other brands that typically use big-name ad agencies. It’s no question these ads were effective, but why were they effective?
In our always-on world, ads that truly resonate are those that leverage the consumer’s natural response to authenticity, relevance and diversity, which Doritos achieved by empowering consumers to be creators, putting into play the power of user generated content (UGC). UGC can help drive any brand one step closer to earning consumer loyalty and trust. It is especially ideal for CPG, food & beverage, retail, fashion and beauty brands; industries in which creators can easily access and acquire products to streamline the production of branded content. Kraft perfected this approach in 2018, with their Family Greatly
ad, which featured images and videos of real families who submitted their content the day of. By showing an unscripted view of families that love Kraft, the brand expertly humanised their messaging.
UGC has become easier to utilise as the general public becomes more skilled in content creation thanks to social media. Increasingly, brands are partnering with micro-influencers to fuel social media campaigns, utilising them to engage target audiences with personalised, high-impact digital content. While platforms like Instagram won’t replace traditional ads, marketers need to embrace fully integrated campaigns in this age of short attention spans. There are a variety of ways brands can utilise UGC during and outside the Super Bowl via social platforms, given that many people have their phones, laptops, and tablets on hand. Marketers now have a whole new vista of opportunities to connect with and engage consumers. A few years ago, Volvo encouraged viewers to tweet at them for a chance to win a car any time a car commercial aired during the Super Bowl, effectively hijacking the social conversation without placing a single ad during the game.
The message is clear; consumers want to see people they actually relate to in their advertising. Since the inaugural Doritos spot, consumer-generated campaigns have gained traction, both in and out of the Super Bowl sphere. However, these ads are still in the very early stages. While brands have mastered the art of standard 30-second TV commercials, UGC still represents largely uncharted territory across mediums. As brands work to perfect UGC marketing, one thing is certain: these campaigns are not just another trend - they’re the future.
Jeff Ragovin is the chief growth officer at Social Native.