How One Country Increased Tourism to Record Levels By Embracing UGC

by Mack Collier

I’m not a huge fan of crowd-sourcing marketing content or campaigns.  The reason is because typically such campaigns attract an audience that has little or no loyalty to the brand, but instead wants to win a prize.

But I love the campaign that the Philippines conducted last year to drive interest in tourism.  The pacific island country launched an app called More Fun in the Philippines.  The app lets you overlay the slogan More Fun in the Philippines over a picture you take, but let’s you add an explanation of why ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’.  Here’s a few examples:


Once the pictures are taken and your caption added, they can be shared on Facebook, Twitter or as you see above, on a blog.  What I love about this crowd-sourcing effort is because it puts the content in the hands of people that have a passion for the brand.  This is key, because the people that will be interested in participating in this campaign are proud Filipinos that want to showcase the Philippines and let the rest of the world see their country as they do.

The Philippines took the content created by its citizens and used submissions on its website as well as in advertising.


“In a very real sense it’s a people power campaign because you can’t imagine how spontaneous this has all been. There’s this latent love of country that we have been able to unleash” explains Ramon Jimenez, Secretary of Tourism for the Philippines.

This campaign was incredibly popular, in fact the hashtag #morefuninthephilippines became the top trending topic on Twitter and visitors to the Philippines increased by 16% during the campaign, to record levels.

So if you want to do a similar crowd-sourcing campaign, keep in mind who you are appealing to and what their motivation is for creating content about your brand.  You want to put the content creation in the hands of people that have a natural affinity and loyalty to your brand, not those that are only encouraged to participate in order to win a prize.  Or worse, people that want to participate in order to mock your brand.

Penina November 5, 2013 at 8:21 am

Hi Mack,
This topic touches a chord (or a nerve) for me because I’ve worked extensively with user generated content. As a designer working on sites with highly active forums across a broad range of topics, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. While a UGC campaign has all the weaknesses you describe, my observation is that in a population of *existing* contributors (i.e. when there is no campaign), there is very often an untapped (unappreciated) group of genuine fans.

These are the people who can sometimes be a big source of frustration for the site owners, because they can be overzealous, and sometimes even a bit too “vigilante”. But I’m convinced they are GOLD. A lot of the content they create could add tremendous value to a brand, but it’s ignored or discouraged by the brand owners. The most frustrating reason is that they fall outside of the company’s stated target market.

If I go on much longer, I’ll have completely veered from the subject of your post, but I did want to add this note as a way of reminding businesses to look at what’s already there, either on a company-created forum, or on interest-based community forums. This is freely-given, heartfelt content that either promotes the brand itself, or adds to its value by strengthening the communities it serves.

Mack Collier November 5, 2013 at 9:12 am

Penina yes I hear and share your frustrations. Too many brands have the mentality that ‘well if they are helping us lets just leave them alone’. Or worse, the brands that want them to stop creating content associated with the brand.

I think it goes back to the brand’s DNA: If the brand wants to connect with its customers, then it will appreciate its fans and work with them, ‘warts’ and all.

But many brands simply want to keep their customers and fans at arm’s length. I guess all we can do is continue to make the case to them why it’s actually in their best interests to work with these fans, instead of ignoring them. You can probably see me trying to make that ‘business’ case in today’s post.

Thanks as always for reading :)

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