This generally involves coming up with a branded hashtag and asking users to submit images based around a particular theme. In fact, Instagram has written a blog post that gives advice on how to host a photo contest on its network.

So with all these contests taking place, I thought it would be useful to flag up eight examples of brands that have used Instagram to run competitions…


Walkers decided to run an Instagram competition as part of the launch of its new Deep Ridged crisps.

In order to win one of 10 adventure holidays, users had to upload an ‘epic’ photo using the caption: “My #TwiceAsEpic entry for @walkers_crisps to win 1 of 10 EPIC adventures with Deep Ridged”.

Extra credit was given to anyone who managed to include a pack of Walkers crisps in their photo, and the best photos were also displayed on Walkers’ Facebook page.

Personally I think that caption is far too long, but then it is a good way of spreading awareness of the competition in a way that a simple hashtag might not achieve.

Macallan Whisky

Premium whisky brand The Macallan ran a competition last year that required users to post a photo of themselves with a bottle of the booze or a shot that represents their love for the brand.

Photos needed to include the hashtag #meandthemacallan, with five winners taking home an unspecified Macallan prize. The competition was also promoted on its Facebook page and Twitter feed.


After enlisting the artistic skills of Jamie Hewlett last year to create limited edition vodka bottles, Absolut decided to give several away using Instagram.

As the bottles were called Absolut London, users had to tweet a photo of something that sums of up one of London’s greatest features, adding the #absolutlondon hashtag plus one of these categories: #london, #entertainer, #music, #entrepreneur, or #fashion.

The competition ran for just over a month, with the some of the best images uploaded to the Absolut Facebook page each week.

Adobe Social

Despite being a B2B company, Adobe decided to use Instagram as a way of promoting the launch of its new Adobe Social software.

The idea was fairly simple – just take a photo of yourself doing something social and upload it to Instagram using the hashtag #AdobeSocial.

The competition ran for just over a month, with entries from Europe getting the chance to win a Ticketmaster gift voucher worth £100.

Tony Hawk

My personal favourite example, pro skater Tony Hawk occasionally hides skateboards in random spots then posts a photo of the landmark with a clue as to the location.

If his followers recognise the landmark and can get there before anyone else then they can pick up a free, signed board.


Though this won’t gain the same exposure as the other examples that run for several weeks using a hashtag, I think this is a really creative example of using Instagram to give away something that followers will truly value – or flog on eBay.

Dunkin’ Donuts

During Halloween last year Dunkin’ Donuts ran a photo competition that encouraged people to post an image of a spookily dressed coffee cup.

By using the hashtag #DresseDD users could enter themselves for the chance to win a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.

Compared to the other competitions, this seems like an awful lot of effort for entrants, but then it also means that Dunkin’ Donuts gets its logo in nearly every picture.

Veuve Clicquot

As part of the social activity around its Polo On The Beach event Veuve Clicquot ran an Instagram competition using the hashtag #POTB2012.

The benefit of running a contest around an event is that you not only get a bit of word of mouth marketing, but there will also be a number of additional photos to use as promotional materials for future events.


Lipton’s four-week contest is currently live across 11 countries in seven different languages, offering Instagram users the chance to win a safari trip to Kenya.

It’s an attempt to market the brand to a younger demographic, with new hashtags unveiled each week that apparently celebrate a different part of Lipton’s core values.


A Liptagram Facebook App houses the competition, where fans can learn about the campaign, enter and view all the entries.

An Instagram search indicates that there were more than 1,000 entries in the first week using the hashtag #Liptonbrightness, which isn’t bad going for a brand trialling a new medium.