Metro photo competition brings in revenue, engages photo-sharing demographic

By Jeremy Bryant

2013 marked the ninth edition of the Metro Photo Challenge, which broke previous records of successfully implemented and highly engaging print, digital, and social media campaigns. And all this in 40 days!

The Metro Photo Challenge (MPC) was initiated nine years ago in Sweden, and launched globally for the first time in 2007. It has become a truly credible event for amateur and professional photographers, engaging more than 18.5 million daily Metro readers with a fun, interactive, and challenging competition.

Using the platform, people can upload, share, and vote for their favourite photos in six globally chosen categories. The strong social sharing features of the platform means that people stay longer and return more often. 

The 2013 (MPC) captured more than one million unique visitors on the Web site — equating to more than 25,000 each day. That is a very large number, even compared to the Ellen DeGeneres selfie media storm. 

MPC also registered 39,000 participants from 204 countries, who uploaded a total of 120,000 photos with the hope that their aesthetic creations would draw the experts’ attention and gain them world recognition.

The challenge imposed no limitations as to the proficiency level of the photographs, as long as they were able to somehow capture the infinite world of human senses.

What the 2013 MPC also did was create and nurture a dedicated online community by utilising the knowledge and understanding of its target group: the urban crowd that loves to take and share pictures, and satisfy the demographic’s natural need to compete and get appraisal. 

What used to be defined as a mere hobby to most urbanites has now been transformed into a new form of expression of one’s deepest emotions, ranging from love and happiness to mystery and even fear. 

In implementing this challenge, Metro opted for utilising the full strength and potential of its global media reach on this one project. Among the key objectives were:

  • Using photography as the main link between marketing/sales and editorial/content creation.

  • Improving the quality of the photos.

  • Using the power of print together with digital to establish a firm ground for building.

  • Offering a fully integrated commercial platform for local and global sponsors.

All this certainly delivered results, making the campaign commercially successful beyond expectations with revenue of US$723,000.

Metro did not diverge from the original winning formula and solution of the contest, but for 2013 brought even more exciting brands and partners to work with. The competition partnered up with Colourbox and Reach for Change globally, while local partners included Canon, Nikon, Önskefoto and Energizer, to name a few.

Metro Photo Challenge 2013 is a signature project and a success on all levels and metrics, surpassing a number of other international photo competitions in participant count, submissions and, most importantly, reach.

These facts prove the strength of global media, illustrating how it can become even stronger with just the right amount of social media buzz and targeted efforts in digital and print.

About Jeremy Bryant