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Coca Cola

And the best part: The only cost to Coca-Cola was a one-time cost to tap into the creative community and a prize for the first place winner!
Coca-Cola has fully embraced user-generated content with several successful crowdsourcing campaigns in recent years. Most notable, however, was Coke's decision to give its marketing creative brief to consumers in North America, Asia, and Latin America instead of a high-powered ad agency, as is the norm. An incredible quantity of content was created with more than 3,600 submissions including animation, illustration, film, and print advertising. Out of those 3,600, 10 of the highest quality were chosen and shown to creative directors and other ad professionals from around the world with one winning ad eventually shown. Surprisingly, the winning ad, "Happiness is in the Air," was ranked in the top 10 percent of ads shown globally after its debut on Valentine's Day during "American Idol," proving that user-generated content can test very, very well.

User-generated content is quickly becoming the norm for brands that want to reach their consumers and brand advocates on a more personal level. And not only is it effective, but compared to other media it's incredibly efficient. And as we saw with Coca-Cola, it can test very well and compete with agency created campaigns. As more and more consumers are being given a voice and the tools to interact with brands, we will start to see more creative ways brands are taking notice. Marketers must realize that consumers are no longer satisfied with being just spoken to, but they want in on the conversation and to be more involved with their favorite brands.