By now, we’re all well acquainted with the selfie. That ubiquitous, unique Internet phenomenon of taking a picture of yourself to share with everyone else. A trend so prevalent, it was named word of the year in 2013. So important, that cell phone manufacturers had to add a second lens to their camera phones for proper framing.
Selfies aren’t just limited to the average avid Instagram user, either. Beyonce Knowles has taken selfies with fans, mid-performance, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has snagged a quick selfie with President Barack Obama, and we’ve even seen selfies from the International Space station. We’ve come a long way from the humble roots of Myspace and clunky digital cameras. So long, in fact, that now brands must get in on the act, and show love to their fans by allowing those fans to love themselves.
Here are the top 14 selfie campaigns of 2014, which show the possibilities a smart phone and a smile can offer.
Purina – Dog Selfies
Backstage at the #WKCDogShow! Watch on @USA_Network! Contenders from the #terrier group pic.twitter.com/NyOXPbfbYK
— Pro Plan (@ProPlan) February 12, 2014
Purina, a major sponsor of the Westminster Dog Show, put an iPad at puppy level, essentially turning the brand’s Twitter feed into a stream of dog selfies. Purina’s twitter handle saw the number of retweets quadruple during the campaign, which featured each participant of the Dog Show.
Wired Magazine – Selfie Cover
Wired has never been known to miss a trend, and they capitalized on the selfie in a big way. Their February 2014 iPad issue came with an app that allowed fans and readers to put themselves on the cover and share it on their favorite social media, tagged #WiredGoesViral.
AXE deodorant – #KissForPeace
For Valentine’s Day, Axe asked for selfies of couples kissing. Axe fans in relationships were more than happy to comply, and Axe users who found themselves flying solo when the campaign hit made due with cans of Axe Body spray and body wash pressed to their lips. http://www.axepeace.com/#join
World Wildlife Fund – Last Selfie
Leveraging the selfie trend for social good, the World Wildlife Fund made a big impact with a campaign of pictures of endangered species, captioned “Don’t let this be my last selfie.” Tigers, Rhinoceros, Gorillas and Polar Bears were sent out to snapchat followers and the campaign was a executed example of a philanthropic organization utilizing current trends for a greater purpose.
NASA – Earth Day Global Selfie
Leave it to NASA to solve the selfie’s biggest conundrum: figuring out how to get everyone in the picture. On Earth Day, NASA asked for users to share selfies and integrated the submissions into collage that depicted the Earth. The mosaic was made up of over 40,000 fan submitted photos, and comprised every continent and over 100 countries.
Rodan & Fields – No-Make Up Selfie
Rodan & Fields, the creators of Proactiv, put their customers at the forefront of their marketing efforts this summer with a one-day selfie promotion. On July 25th, fans were encouraged to take a “naked” no-makeup selfie. For every selfie taken, Rodan & Fields donated $1 to BuildOn to go towards building a school for children in need. Celebrities like LeAnn Rimes got “naked” and all the selfies were aggregated and showcased on a microsite. The one-day campaign saw over 5,000 people take no-makeup selfies and with additional donations from the community, raised over $30,000 to build a school with partner buildOn.
Samsung – Underwater Selfies
Samsung wanted to show off the Samsung Galaxy S5 and its water resistance. So they did, with underwater selfies. To make it interesting they did it in Switzerland at Lake Zurich, when the water was a brisk 46 degrees. Participants were given a free S5 to help them warm up.
The Selfie Olympics
Just how far have the Selfies come? So far that an impromptu, unsponsored event known as the “Selfie Olympics” generated over 20,000 original submissions, featuring clever, acrobatic or just plain weird pictures of Instagram and twitter users. For everyone who couldn’t make it as an athlete at the Sochi Olympic Games, the Selfie Olympics were a great substitute.
Unicef – #WakeUpCall
To raise money for outreach to Syria, aiming to help refugee children, celebrities such as Tom Hiddleston, Stephen Fry and Naomi Campbell posted pictures to Instagram immediately after waking up. Rumpled, grumpy, with bedhead galore, the stars of stage and screen nominated friends to follow suit and then encouraged fans to text “Syria” to a phone number for a cash donation.
Marc Jacobs – #CastMeMarc
In April, Marc Jacobs plugged his newest line, “Marc, by Marc Jacobs” by putting out a casting call for model’s from the real world. Within a day, Jacobs had over 15,000 applicants to choose from after putting the request on Instagram and Twitter. The campaign was so successful (70,000 total entrants) that the clothing brand has already announced the #CastMeMarc campaign has begun anew for the 2015 line.
Pizza Hut & Blake Shelton – #Shelfie
Pizza Hut propped a life size cardboard cutout of country star Blake Shelton in stores around the country and encouraged fans to snap a “pic” with the facsimile star and his new signature BBQ pizza. Giveaways attached to the hashtag “BBQWithBlake” included prizes, and free pizza.
National Geographic – Animal Selfies
National Geographic took pictures of everything before it was the norm, so it’s no surprise the National Geographic selfie campaign covered uncharted ground. The ads featured a gorilla in a bathroom mirror, a panda in an elevator, and other animals in various mirrors, all to encourage traffic to the National Geographic collection, an anthology of wildlife photography.
Beats – #SoloSelfie
Fresh off their acquisition by Apple, Beats asked their fans to help promote the new Solo2 headphones with a selfie campaign. Aided by the publicity of celebrities and mega-stars, Beats’ call-to-action was to take a video selfie going from one side of the headphone to the other and upload it to Twitter and Instagram with hashtag #SoloSelfie.
Beats took a smart approach and even made a tutorial video showing how to take #SoloSelfie that has over 1 million views. The campaign was complemented with a microsite that featured all the celebrity selfies, adding more social proof that this is the headphone for you. Over 9,000 photos and videos have used #SoloSelfie on Instagram, making this selfie campaign a great success.
Old Navy – #Selfiebration
Old Navy celebrated their 20th birthday this year with their fans by throwing a #selfiebration in Los Angeles and NYC with a massive machine that turned selfies submitted on Twitter into balloon art. The machine rasterized the selfies and then displayed them with 1,000 specialty balloons that were inflated every 30 seconds to show a new selfie. Fans of the retailer were also incentivized to join in the #selfiebration with 3 lucky fans winning $10,000 for their own birthday wish.
These are all great ideas.
Another one that should be noted comes from the website IndependenceHappensHere.com — just by posting a selfie with a business, you can win that business a free TV commercial. It’s some sort of small biz support plan…but it’s not everyday that you find a selfie contest where the prize goes to someone other than the person in the picture!