May 26, 2017

A fork in the advertising road

Advertisers today stand at an important crossroad — to continue churning out the same ol’ proven methods, safe, tried and trusted, or to adapt to our evolving media landscape with new techniques and best practices. Will you anticipate a trend or react to it?


Think about how you consume media and content today. Almost everything is designed to block advertising. It started with the invention and rapid success of DVR, where people watched television shows on their own time and skipped every commercial, ultimately making the millions of dollars spent on advertising worthless.

Then came about Hulu, Netflix and the multitude of streaming services, virtually removing younger audiences from the purview of traditional advertising tactics. Today there are ad blocker extensions to curb pop-ups and YouTube previews. Industries have literally been created to skirt advertising efforts. Any reasonable person would know that today’s television advertising is an unsustainable practice, and the ones that have seen recent success have adapted our favorite methodology: user-generated content (UGC).


UGC’s popularity in recent years has grown so much that companies with traditional advertising methods began to adapt the style, even if their execution was off. Take Chevrolet’s “Real People, Not Actors” commercials. The purpose of the commercials is to elicit a genuine reaction about the cars, or at least record some sort of reaction and then edit the footage accordingly. While the right intent was there, to capture raw reactions, the internet soon gave its two cents, which can be understand from the top Google hits when searching for the commercial.


After seeing so many of these annoying commercials, some people reacted and created their own parodies, like this viral one below:



Just as much as people respond to authenticity, they will reject the opposite or any half-hearted attempt at it. Studies show that UGC is more effective than advertising. Forbes declared it a top marketing trend of 2017, and startups have begun to develop UGC-centric apps so people can create ads for their favorite brands! With all this available information, it's shocking that advertisers still hold on to traditional methods.


To honor those that genuinely approach UGC and advertising with the basic understanding that today’s consumer is not dumb, we’ve compiled a list of commercials with user generated content that melted our hearts the most. Enjoy!




Clearblue recently launched an ad campaign that succeeds in its simplicity. Home videos of couples and families the moment they learn about a pregnancy shows the emotional moment associated with learning about such news. They don’t talk about how accurate the product is, because the excitement in the commercials does that for you. Why pay actors to fake these reactions when the best stuff out there already exists?


Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers for years has relied on the the triumphant true stories of those that successfully lost weight through its program and products. Its most recent commercial took that step further and included videos posted to social media from actual Weight Watcher ambassadors, who gained social influence through the brand’s promoted lifestyle. You can follow those ambassadors easily, because their Instagram handles are displayed in the commercial. That’s a pro tip for UGC — always give your followers credit and recognition for best results and the best engagement.



DISCLAIMER: This next commercial is so damn heartwarming, you might begin to cry in front of coworkers, family members, or pets, depending where you watch this.


Two years ago, Tylenol launched an ad campaign called #HowWeFamily that gathered emotional home videos sharing special family holiday moments from around the country. The commercial doesn’t even mention what it’s selling — pain medicine. After watching though, your heart might ache so much that a few would be a good idea. You can read more about the stories being depicted here, and watch the video below:




McDonald’s, for its UGC advertising campaign, took to Twitter to learn about what its audience really wants — all day beakfast. It sourced the thousands of users' tweets begging the fast food giant to extend the hours and turned it into advertising collateral. Check out one of its recent bus ads:



Watch the upcoming commercial here. When you're starting your own UGC campaign try to remember this one. It engages the audience, listens to their pain points, and incorporates changes. It's pretty much a textbook example of how to properly use UGC.


Universal Pictures “Secret Life of Pets”

Universal launched this popular UGC contest in Australia for the sequel to “The Secret Life of Pets,” before the first film was even launched. Contestants uploaded videos of pets doing their funniest and most heartwarming pics and the winner will have their pet included in the next movie. The nationwide contest garnered thousands of entries and made local news broadcasts across the country. The result: massive publicity surrounding the movie and the engagement of thousands, and title of second highest grossing animated film in 2016, behind Finding Dory, which has roots in Australia


What you need for an awesome UGC video

Before starting a UGC advertising campaign, you’ll need a UGC platform. The right platform should accomplish three goals:

  1. Quick access to social media platforms and the content you are looking for

  2. Simple messaging automation to make asking for content easy and quick

  3. A guarantee it won’t backfire 

Pro Tip: Read our UGC laws and regulations blog to understand the importance of UGC legal agreements.


About Us

ShareRoot is the most legally secure UGC platform on the market, and it is the only platform that automates the legal agreement process for acquiring rights to user photos and videos. If legal is a major concern hindering your UGC efforts, contact us today to learn how you can quickly legally access rights to user generated content.

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