How the World’s Top Brands use Creative Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing allows organizations to do just that: it allows organizations to find the most talented people in the world, to connect with them, and to deliver relevant products or to co-create engaging advertising content
How the World's Top Brands use Creative Crowdsourcing - Crowdsourcing Week

Written by Claudia Pelzer

Jun 22, 2012

Interbrand’s ranking of the 100 Best Global Brands ranks some of the most famous brands in the world based on “all the many ways in which a brand touches and benefits its organization – from attracting and retaining talent to delivering on customer expectations“. Crowdsourcing allows organizations to do just that: it allows organizations to find the most talented people in the world, to connect with them, and to deliver relevant products or to co-create engaging advertising content. In this post, we describe how some of the world’s leading brands have used creative crowdsourcing in the few last years.



Coca-Cola is the world’s most recognized and valuable brand. I extensively covered Coke’s co-creative initiatives already, among which I cited a video/animation contest for Coke Zero (eYeka), which was held in 2009 and was open to Singaporean creatives only. Another contest for the brand was held about two years later, but this time it was global (eYeka). It received a huge number of creations from all over the world, and this shorter video shows that this response allowed the brand to crack a major positioning problem.

Coca-Cola also collaborates with MoFilm, an American platform for crowdsourced video ad production. They often organize competitions around festival locations where they invite winners, you can see the winners of the 2011 Coke Zero competition here (MoFilm). The winner of the 2012 video contest was Hugh Mitton, a videomaker from New Zealand who also won first prize… in the Coca-Cola contest held on eYeka one year earlier!

Another crowdsourcing contest was being sponsored by the German branch of Coca-Cola: it was a contest to redesign the Coca-Cola cradle (Jovoto).  There is also a great video available on their website, where you can see and hear David Butler, Coca-Cola’s global VP of Design, talking about crowdsourcing and its value for the:

This is the future because we live in a reality of more transparency and connectivity than ever before. What we’re doing in Germany is indicative of the future, it is part of how we will operate going forward


International Business Machines (IBM) is a large technology and consulting company with a very strong brand. The company is very famous for its Jams, which are big internal crowdsourcing events, which launched in 2001. The 2006 Innovation Jam was the largest IBM online brainstorming session ever held, gathering more than 150,000 people from 104 countries and 67 companies.  Today, there are Jams for everything (innovation, security, energy…) and targeted towards various internal and external contributors (employees, students, academics…). This video about Jams looks a little bit outdated, but its name (“A Decade of Jamming”) suggests that its rather recent. You can see and hear Liam Cleaver from IBM’s Jams and Collaborative Innovation program office discuss Jams and how they can transform an enterprise, industry or ecosystem.

Jams serve as a spark, really a catalyst for change within an organization. It’s a way to really harness the creativity and innovation of a group of people


According to Interbrand, Microsoft is the world’s 3rd most valuable brand in the world. Microsoft is not only a software company, but the brand also sells gaming consoles, smartphones and tablets. The first use of crowdsourcing that Microsoft used to our knowledge is an advertising contest on Zooppa. The brief asked the crowd to highlight how businesses can use Microsoft software to build an online presence. In 2011, the brand sponsored another contest on Zooppa, this time for Windows Phone. In a nutshell, the brief asked the crowd to show that the Windows Phone can do as much as competing devices. Similarly to Coca-Cola, Microsoft also uses MoFilm for video content production. In 2011, it was about producing short movies about Windows 7 and Windows Live, and the way the software benefits students in their lives.

Microsoft also collaborated with the Paris-based company eYeka to get content about the perception of its educational software. The brand sponsored a contest to ask the crowd to come up with documentaries (eYeka) and teacher interviews (eYeka). Later in 2011, Microsoft did a contest on the same platform to promote technology as a way to bring families together (eYeka). The contest was part of a larger campaign targetted towards Asia, and the winners came from Singapore, the Philippines and France.



In 2011’s ranking, Google was ranked 4th most valuable brand in the world. And for a company that makes money with peoples’ activity on the web, we can say that crowd-sourcing is part of the brand’s DNA! For example, in 2009 they did a video contest to promote Chrome in Brazil (Zooppa) and another one to create a video of people building the Chrome icon (Google). In 2010, they launched the Google Demo Slam for creative writers to make videos featuring Google tools for the chance to be promoted by the company. Google even crowdsources internally, as the Googley Art Wall contest shows (see here).

google favicon

Did you know that this logo got crowdsourced too? It was inspired by the design submitted by a computer sciende undergraduate from Brazil (click on the image to find out more)

There was also that design contest in France to ask people to redesign the “eating”, “drinking” and “going out” pins for Google Maps, and on the same platform, in 2011, a video contest was held asking French people to tell a story using Google tools (eYeka). Also, let’s talk about that fantastic crowdsourced movie “Life in a Day” (YouTube), produced by Ridley Scott which is made up of about 1,000 clips (chosen from 80,000 submissions from 192 countries).


The conglomerate called General Electric (GE) does much more than just power supply! The most famous example is probably GE’s Ecoimagination challenge that they launched in 2010 to gather eco-friendly business ideas that GE would fund (BrightIdea). To engage consumers around this challenge, GE also launched a contest on the video crowdsourcing platform Poptent. The winning entries were purchased by the brand and used on the Ecoimagination YouTube page. The second edition of the challenge saw the birth of a “little sister” challenge: Healthymagination with which GE has similar objectives, but with ideas to fight cancer (Brightidea).

In 2011, they did run a contest an Instagram photo contest, won by a Wisconsin-based photographer and pilot whose photo you can see here. And much more recently, GE partnered up with the social product development platform Quirky, which crowdsources product ideas and turns them into real-world products. The objective was to find ideas to “make everyday products smarter”, and the winning idea was that of a milk jug that alerts you when the milk is gone bad.

To find out more about how brands use creative crowdsourcing, don’t hesitate to visit my blog post on which I’d like to list as much creative crowdsourcing initiatives as possible. Feel free to share!

About Author

About Author

Claudia Pelzer

Claudia has an international MBA, lives and works in Cologne as a media consultant, author and blogger. She is the Founder of, an information hub that deals with the various facets, currents and outward signs of crowdsourcing.

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