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The 5 Most Innovative Instagram Contests and Campaigns of 2013 (so far)

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This is a follow up to an article we published last year: 5 Instagram contests of 2012 that are worthy of your attention.

Summer 2013 is just about closing and yet we’ve already seen a multiplication of high quality, innovative marketing campaigns on Instagram. In this article, we’re giving you the rundown on 5 amazing Instagram contests we’ve found in 2013 so far.

1. Heineken: Crack the US Open

heineken wieden kennedy instagram campaign crack the us open

Heineken partnered with renowned agency Wieden+Kennedy to create the first Instagram-based interactive scavenger hunt. Unlike most campaigns and contests featured on this list, fans aren’t asked to submit photos via Instagram. Rather, Heineken is leading the scavenger hunt on a dedicated Instagram account, featuring a mosaic of small scenes. Fans are given a photo as a starting point, from which they hunt for clues in the hope to solve a mystery. Hashtagging the right answer in the right photo is the only way to win the reward.

Why it worked

  • A very original campaign that “Hacked” a social network to create a new experience for fans
  • Managed in real time with a quick reactivity from community managers
  • A virtually cheat-proof contest

The results

  • 9 Winners
  • 18 tickets to the US Open Final were given

2. Mercedes-Benz USA for CLA model: Take the Wheel

cla take the wheel instagram contest 2013

Mercedes-Benz partnered with 5 top Instagrammers (top, both in their number of followers and amount of talent) to take the wheel of its @mbusa Instagram account. The 5 Instagrammers were: Tim Landis, Paul Octavious, Alice Gao, Chris Ozer, and Michael O’Neal.
Each posted awe-inspiring photos to the car account for 5 days. Chris Ozer, who posted the most liked photo of all, was offered a brand new CLA to drive. What’s especially cool is that Mercedes-Benz USA also promoted a rising star in the photo and video network. Indeed, fans could send their photos to the #CLATakeTheWheel hashtag in the hope to get picked. The 5 Pro-instagrammers voted to pick @csanyi “for having the Instagram feed that best represents the spirit of the CLA”.

Why it worked (and still does)

  • Boosted the @mbusa official Instagram account, both in metrics and overall look
  • Benefitted from 5 well-followed Instagram-celebrities
  • Included the fans by mixing influencers outreach and UGC
  • Fan-winner @csanyi secures a sustained effect for @mbusa as she keeps posting even weeks after the contest ended

The results

  • Total Engagement on photos more than doubled before/after the contest
  • Over 2,100 Posts on #CLATakeTheWheel
  • Photos, and mentions of @mbusa popped in the newsfeed of millions of Instagram users via the 5 Instagrammer’s posts (they have a cumulated number of 2,750,000 followers, granted some probably overlap)

3. Oreo Instagram account launch at SuperBowl: Whisper Fight

Again, Wieden+Kennedy is to thank for one of the most noticed ads to air at the Superbowl last year. Kicked off with the Whisper Fight spot, Oreo’s contest invited fans to debate against Cookie and Creme using hashtags on Instagram. Lucky participants saw their Instagram photos transformed into real life Oreo-made sculptures.

Why it worked

  • Leveraged UGC in an interactive way: Fans instantly saw the result of their participation
  • Fun contest made sure people engaged and used hashtags
  • Campaigned sustained by traditional marketing: TV ads and prints on Oreo packs

The results

  • From 0 to 80,000 followers on the @Oreo Instagram account in a week
  • Over 35,000 submission to #cookiethis and #cremethis
  • About 150 sculptures made

4. Armani – #SiByArmani perfume for women

Armani partnered with Instagram fashion bloggers to launch its new perfume called Sì. Among the people the brand selected was Chiara Ferragni, a highly influential fashion blogger with 1.2 million followers on Instagram. Her audience is in large part made of fashionistas who were likely to be interested in Armani’s new perfume. Thus, for the Italian luxury brand, this initiative was an amazing opportunity to target a 1+ million strong, qualified audience.

Why it worked

  • Highly targeted influencers campaign
  • One of the first uses of Instagram video for business
  • Designed to fit traditional TV ads

The results

  • Thousands of impressions
  • High engagement: 40,000 likes and over 460 Comments on Ferragni’s videos alone
  • Overwhelmingly positive reaction to what could be called: the beginnings of ads on Instagram

5. Special K – #NyaSpecialK

In one of its stores in Sweden, Special K offered customers the opportunity to win free cereal boxes of a new flavor. The only thing customers had to do was snap an Instagram photo featuring the cereal brand, upload it with the hasthag #nyaspecialk (meaning new special k) and show it to the cashier. Winning free cereals has never been that easy.

Why it worked

  • Relevance: Special K rewarded its existing customers with a free Special K product
  • Direct reward: Upload a photo, show it at next cash out, instantly get a free cereal box. the process couldn’t be more straightforward
  • Leveraged word-of-mouth marketing via Instagram, adapted to the Swedish market (a similar campaign was run but with Twitter in London)

The results

  • News picked up by major marketing and social media publications (Mashable, PSFK, Ûbergizmo)
  • About 400 participants in total for just one location

Because it was only conducted in one Special K store in Sweden, this Instagram campaign was only relayed by a few publications which still included Mashable, Ubergizmo and PSFK, all respected marketing news outlets.

What’s next?

While 2012 was largely made of traditional Instagram hashtag-based campaigns, 2013 has already offered an interesting diversity and original initiatives from both brands and agencies. Now, after Instagram announced it passed 150 million active users, its chief of business operations Emily White hints that ads will be coming within a year’s time. What does that mean for the next Instagram campaigns? We’ll be sure to keep you posted about the latest news.

That’s it for this batch. Do you think we missed any? In 2013, what’s your favorite Instagram contest so far? Tell us in the comments! Share this article with a friend who’s passionate about social media.

Want to know how to create your own Instagram campaign? Read 8 steps to managing an Instagram contest on our Guide to Instagram for Business

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