Kimmy K, Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes, we all know them for their indulgence in the act of duck-faced, risqué and cringey self portraits, instantly catapulting the trend into infamy. From Net-a-Porter, Channel 4 to Doctor Who, the selfie has become one trend that big businesses have decided to capitalise on…
‘Selfie’ derived from the term selfish… wait, that’s not right. Honestly, if you don’t already know what the term selfie means then maybe you need to come out from under your rock and re-enter the land of the living.
Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres’s recent “super-selfie” on Twitter has delivered the trend back to front and centre spotlight. Shot by Bradley Cooper (on Ellen’s Samsung Galaxy smartphone #productplacement), featuring a scrum of celebrities including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey, the tweet quickly clocked up an excess of 3 million shares, becoming the most retweeted tweet EVER.
Whether it was an orchestrated move by the Oscar’s and/or Samsung, they are not the first to successfully harness the power of the selfie. Here are a few of our favourite ‘selfie-centred’ marketing campaigns…
In February of this year, fashion brand Net-A-Porter announced the launch of its new Porter print magazine and created an iOS app called ‘I Am Porter’ which tapped into the craze for selfies. The app allows users to upload a headshot photo, then add a cover line and the PORTER masthead to transform themselves into a cover star. The personalised covers can then be shared via users’ social media accounts along with the dedicated #IAMPORTER hashtag.
— Jennifer Tilly (@Jtillathekilla2) February 15, 2014
In October 2013, as part of the celebrations surrounding the 50th anniversary of TV show ‘Doctor Who’, the BBC released a facebook app which allowed users to insert their own name and photograph into the iconic title sequence of the sci-fi show. Fueling every fan’s secret desire to be The Doctor, the app quickly racked up more than 8,000 users.
— Andrew Clark (@Andrew_Clark77) March 10, 2014
For its ‘Live from Space’ season of programming, Channel 4 offers viewers the chance to get their face in space thanks to a specially-created website. Visitors to the site can post questions via a webcam or Vine clip) to astronauts on board the International Space Station. Selected questions will be transmitted and answered by the astronauts during Channel 4’s Live from Space: Lap of the Planet show later this month.
— Live from Space (@SpaceLive) March 11, 2014
The Walking Dead
Last year, popular television series The Walking Dead launched a camera app called ‘Dead Yourself’ that let fans zombify their selfies and share the scare online using the hashtag #deadyourself. The app also includes a “Bite a Friend” feature, which lets users turn a friend’s selfie into a photorealistic zombie. As of April 2013, the app had been downloaded 3 million times and is still one of the most popular free entertainment apps in the iTunes store.
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) March 5, 2014
Warby Parker eyewear knew that, for most people, it didn’t seem natural to buy glasses online. To tackle this, they let customers upload a picture of themselves, superimpose pictures of different spectacle frames on top and choose up to five favourites. Warby Parker then sent a selection of frames for users to try out. People were then asked to share a selfie wearing the different glasses on social networks with the hashtag #warbyhometryon and ask which pair their friends liked best. If that didn’t make the decision easier, they could post the selfie on Warby Parker’s Facebook page and the brand would chime in with their own expert opinion. This campaign ultimately helped boost online sales by more than 200%.
— Warby Parker (@WarbyParker) February 19, 2014
As the selfie continues to bulldoze any other rising trends in its wake, it has opened up interesting opportunities for brands to market themselves online. At the heart of each of these campaigns is the recognition that social media users post selfies as a fun, convenient means of self-expression and will happily provide a selfie to endorse your brand or back your campaign where it fits in with their own interests and desires.
If your business hasn’t tapped into the power of the selfie yet, it’s time to face the facts. For smart brands, the selfie and its natural successor – the video selfie – will continue to be incorporated into a wide range of creative and cost-effective marketing campaigns.