GE Instagram contest targets shutterbugs

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GE invited its Facebook fans to photograph GE-inspired innovations for a chance to win a trip
GE invited its Facebook fans to photograph GE-inspired innovations for a chance to win a trip

The Offer: General Electric Company (GE), with digital agency Mekanism, invited its Facebook fans to participate in a photo contest that used Apple's Instagram app. In order to “Be the Next Instagrapher” and win a trip to Wales to photograph a jet engine facility, fans took and shared photos inspired by GE innovation. Fans voted on the images and the winner took home $3,000.

The Data: The Instagram app for iPhone allows users to apply an assortment of filters to photos to give them a cool vintage look, which they can share via social networks, including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr or Foursquare. The contest promoted GE's innovations in transportation, health care, power and building, as well as gained exposure for GE's Instagram feed. According to Apple, the app has been downloaded roughly 15 million times, and GE fans shared more than 2,000 photos.

The Channel: Entrants were required to “like” GE's Facebook page before they could share their images. Photos tagged with #GEinspiredME were aggregated into a gallery on Facebook where GE's more than 200,000 fans could browse and vote on their favorites.

The Creative: The social media-based contest drew on consumers' creativity to drive engagement. Tagged photos in GE's Facebook gallery could be instantly shared. There was no limit to the number of photos fans could submit. The winning image, announced at the end of December, was shot by a pilot who photographed a large Iowa wind farm from the sky. 

The Verdict:

Paul Notzold is senior creative director at Aspen Marketing Services, a marketing agency services division of Epsilon. He specializes in the mobile and interactive design and has done work for TIME, the 2008 Obama campaign, Merck, Rogaine, Neutrogena and others.

Is this the future? Social media-based job interviewing? I'd like to see the focus be on people participating rather than GE as the inspiration. A call to document innovation in general or things that need work could be a stronger draw. Maybe it would be more interesting for the casual outsider to view content that could be created and leveraged.

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