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12 Brands That Captured Our Attention Through Instagram Contests

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12 Brands That Captured Our Attention Through Instagram Contests

Updated in 2016 to reflect new statistics. 

In case you didn’t take notice, Instagram is kind of a big deal. But, since the social media platform has 500 million users, we’re guessing that you did in fact notice. However, does that mean that you can utilize Instagram to establish your brand?

As the recent study published by TrackMavern illustrated, not only are brands effectively using Instagram, more Fortune 500 companies are getting on board. Just because a brand posts a pretty picture on Instagram though doesn’t necessarily mean that it will gain new followers or buzz. For that to happen, brands have to offer something engaging for followers. And, what’s a better way to engage followers than through a contest?

Unlike other social media outlets, Instagram can offer one of the best interactions with fans and consumers, since these particular contests rely on people taking pictures and then posting them. While prizes and getting credit for a winning image is all well and good, it’s this engagement with followers that make Instagram contests a serious consideration for brands. It also generates buzz and new followers to the Instagram account. Brands can also promote a contest on other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, so essentially all corners of social media are covered.

If you’re looking to host an Instagram contest, then check out what the following twelve brands accomplished with these creative and effective campaigns.

12. Macallan Whisky

The Premium whiskey brand ran a simple, yet effective, contest where fans of the brand snapped an image of them enjoying a bottle of The Macallan. Contestants had to use the hashtag #meandthemacallan, with five winners receiving as unspecified Macallan prize, as well as having the winning shots being featured on Macallan’s blog, official Facebook Page and Twitter feed.

11. Four Seasons

The Four Seasons Hotel has run several contests in various cities, such as Hong Kong and Toronto, where users are encouraged to take inspiring pictures of the city. Four Seasons asked for pictures of specific landmarks of the city with the lucky winner receiving the primary prize of a weekend stay at the hotel.

10. Emirates NBD

Middle Eastern bank Emirates NBD ran a contest for the United Arab Emirates’ 41st National Day where people could enter their best images by hashtagging #nbdnationalday. The 41 most liked entrees were highlighted in an exhibition at the bank’s headquarters.

9. Swarovski

Precision-cut crystal maker Swarovski collaborated with 52Grams, a mobile platform that allows brands to create shoppable look books from Instagram images, for its #InstaSparkle. Fans submitted pictures and videos where the prizes included Swarovski Nirvana Jewelry.

8. Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk will hide skateboards in a random location and then post an image featuring a landmark and a clue for followers to find the prize. Whoever gets to the spot first will snag a free, signed board.

7. Dunkin’ Donuts

For Halloween, Dunkin Donuts asked their followers to decorate its cups and snap a photo for a chance to win a $100 gift card. Simple and engaging enough. While the contest wasn’t restricted to Instagram, 4 of the five winners were indeed Instagram pics.

6. National Geographic

During National Geographic Channel’s “Untamed Americas” the magazine asked travelers to capture some of the most beautiful landscapes in the continents. The winning contestants received a National Geographic camera bag filled with a Nikon D3100 and a subscription to National Geographic Magazine.

5. Swatch

To promote the release of the Swatch New Gent Lacquered watch, Swatch gave the authors of the best photos #fromthestreets the new product. The giveaway seemed extremely effective as the brand has more followers on Instagram than on Twitter.

4. Lipton

Lipton ran a contest that spanned across 11 countries and in seven different languages, with a Grand Prize being a safari trip to Kenya, during four-weeks in 2013. Followers simply uploaded an image that applied to a weekly hashtag word. Users could also Facebook to enter and submit their entry.

3. Sony

To promote new headphones, the #SonyX contest allowed users to post one image a day, with a daily winner receiving a $50 coupon. Not a huge prize, but the odds of winning were very enticing.

2. Heineken

Heineken partnered with renowned agency Wieden+Kennedy for the first ever Instagram-based interactive scavenger hunt. Instead of receiving pictures on Instagram, Heineken posted images on its account as a starting point for the scavenger hunt. After deciphering clues, fans hashtagged the correct answer for a prize that included tickets to the US Open Final.

1. Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s #CaptureEuphoria campaign asked followers to submit an image that best depicted the joy of enjoying Ben & Jerry’s. The prize? The winning images were used for custom-made ads with the original Instagrammer getting a nod. The company enjoyed a 22% increase during the campaign.

While some 25% of Fortune 500 brands are using Instagram, it remains a new medium that has yet reached full potential. A contest is a tried and successful tactic that could be used to gain a presence on Instagram by promoting a new product or engaging consumers. Have you run a contest on Instagram? If so, tell us how it went. And, if we missed an interesting Instagram contest, please give us a reminder in the comments.


Featured Image Credit: Deposit Photos 


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Albert Costill


Albert Costill is a co-founder of and a freelance writer who has written for brands like and Search ... [Read full bio]

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