Marketing Authenticity On Social Media: A Case Study

As brand authenticity becomes increasingly key when marketing to savvy social media audiences, we take a look at one of Cannes Lions biggest winners. This brand effectively utilised user generated content to create an innovative campaign, tapping into audiences’ personal connections in order to build brand affinity.

Marketing Authenticity vs. Monetised Social Media: A Case Study


At Cannes Lions this year, marketing ‘authenticity’ was clearly a key concern for companies appealing to millennial consumers, with social media often used as the most effective channel to do this. However, in an age of increased sponsored posts on people’s feeds, including influencer endorsements, brands need to adopt authentic communication methods to stand out and attract customers.


Cannes Lions’ biggest award-winner of the night, JWT Amsterdam and Opel’s “Pay with Views” campaign, allowed their audience to take the reins by incentivising them to create their very own influencer campaigns. The campaign turned YouTube views into currency, with applicants creating their own user generated videos, promoting this content themselves to accumulate YouTube views and, depending on the number of views they achieved, they would be able to claim one of Opel’s latest model of cars:

• The Karl Rocks Online Edition (€14,747) costs 589,900 YouTube views
• The Corsa Online Edition (€18,490) costs 739,600 YouTube views
• The Astra Online Edition (€23,070) costs 922,800 YouTube views



The campaign was able to reach a huge amount of people; generating over 34 million views in total, with individual videos receiving anything from 6 all the way up to 14 million YouTube views!

Cannes Lions awarded the campaign four Lions across the PR and Direct categories; a Gold in the Innovative Use of Social Media subcategory, a Silver in the Launch/Re-Launch subcategory, one Bronze in the Co-Creation & User-Generated Content subcategory, and another Bronze in the Use of Social Platforms subcategory.


  1. Think outside the box – Data shows that the average person is exposed to between 3000 to 5000 advertisements a day! With so much competition, it is more important than ever to stand out in order to capture attention. As the first brand to allow customers to pay via YouTube views, Opel was able to pique interest and generate a generous amount of additional press that helped to boost the campaign’s reach.
  2. Listen to the consumer, trust them to set the tone – Instead of dictating what a brand represents, allow audiences to express what a brand means to them. Building brand affinity is like any meaningful relationship; it’s an honest two-way communication. Opel’s campaign initiated a give-and-take partnership with their audience, making the consumer the focus and providing a uniquely democratic approach to their marketing tactics.
  3. Build on personal connections – 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. The result of the campaign undoubtedly encourages an emotional response to the brand through the personal connection we feel with the campaigns’ potential winners. These efforts demonstrate the effectiveness of UGC in creating a personable brand association as a result of the authentic human connection we have with others.
  4. Embrace user-generated content (UGC) – Through posting reviews, images, and videos on social media, customers often reveal an uninhibited insight into a brand. Opel’s ‘Pay with Views’ campaign, allowed them to dramatically increase their level of UGC. Providing them with an invaluable amount of social insight and keeping them on the pulse with their customers. This is sure to improve their future marketing efforts, as they are able to better understand and adapt their messaging to their audiences in a way that is more personalised, authentic, and relevant.


Want to learn more about how to market authentically to your audience? From product launches to live events and digital campaigns, we know how to engage audiences in new and exciting ways. Get in touch with Collider at

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