Will a selfie make you the ruler of the universe? We’re going to bet most probably not. But selfies are emerging as a popular and potent tool in branding and public opinion campaigns. Should you consider using an innovative selfie hashtag to make yourself heard? Here are some examples to help you decide:
This campaign, which got the widely acknowledged approval of the central government and the prime minister, helped achieve a few important goals. The first was visibility. The Modi government has been excellent at branding and PR, and this was an essential step to help boost the image of the country in the current climate.
Internationally, news from India too often deals with all kinds of violence against women. Stories about female foeticide and infanticide, not to mention rape and violence of women of all ages, have got so much press over the last couple of years that a campaign that demonstrated Indian’s relationship with its daughters in a positive light did help that image. Of course, it is ironic that when a few Indian women pointed out that a selfie campaign needed to be backed up by policy changes and implementation, they got tons of abuse on social media.
I’m not Indian, but here’s my #SelfieWithDaughter anyway. Look at those eyes! pic.twitter.com/sHmzqtlpJr
— Frank Cornelia (@Frank_Cornelia) June 29, 2015
2. #LeninLives – selfie with Lenin:
This is playing out now, so you could watch its progress and see how it works. A communist youth organisation in Russia is trying to use this campaign as, in their words, a “cheap and effective way to popularise the image of the leader of the world’s proletariat among the youth”. Their attempt demonstrates how a selfie campaign can be effective. It’s a popular phenomenon and it’s trendy.
#селфислениным A photo posted by Sandra_st (@bird_sandra) on
3. Dove’s selfie campaign:
Dove has changed its image in an attempt to connect with the people who buy their products: women who don’t look like supermodels. In an effort to be both relatable and accessible, they have had very widely spread ‘real women’ and ‘natural beauty’ campaigns. So it was inevitable that they would end up using selfies for this, and they did. The hashtag that trended was #speakbeautiful. Of course, this was giving a new spin to the already very popular #uglyselfie that people had already been posting on Instagram and Snapchat.
This is an excellent example of how a brand can take an already existing trend, give it a spin, and use it in their campaign. Their existing popularity makes it easier to capitalise on an already present audience. Of course, any brand that does this will also receive a certain amount of natural resentment from people whose idea has been taken and commercialised.
Mac is an extremely popular cosmetics company with a very loyal following. They have a contest centred around selfies going on right now. You take a selfie, upload it along with a 140-character description of why you’re ‘Macnificent’, and six winners will get a makeover and a photo shoot in New York. This campaign shows excellent understanding of its target audience: the prize is tailored to appeal to them, and the campaign is based on making the selfie-takers feel special. Of course, after claiming that ‘everyone’ can participate, it turns out that only people in a few countries count as ‘everyone’. India is not on the list.
This was a while ago, but it hits every mark that a selfie campaign should consider. It appealed to a huge range of people. It let people indulge their quirkiness and creativity, even celebrating it. And it was silly – it was all about how weird and challenging your selfie could be, and people participated even if there was absolutely no pay-off. Imagine if this could be harnessed into a well-planned and well-executed marketing campaign!
Made a midnight snack then my mom yelled at me for selfie-ing. #SelfieGame pic.twitter.com/3XZY6inNxY
— Anthony (@SubwaySenpai) January 3, 2014