August 15, 2013

Marketers seek to sync up with ‘selfie’ phenomenon

Posted by: in North America

“Selfies” have suddenly become a hot topic, with conversation ranging from whether these self-portraits are art to whether they’re driving a rise in narcissism, ruining teens’ self-esteem or damaging real-life relationships. In the U.K., according to a new survey, three-quarters of 18-24-year-olds have taken a selfie and even 3 in 10 people over 65.

Some marketers have been making the most of the moment by helping people create attention-getting selfies or by turning brand-centric selfies into contest entries. The Dead Yourself app, created to promote AMC’s series The Walking Dead, plays to viewers’ vanity in a comedic way by “zombifying” selfies. Quartz reported in June that the app had been downloaded 4.5 million times, with 11 million photos taken. A Westfield “Share Your Selfie” contest (with a trip to Paris as the prize) is typical of the contest idea. Jamba Juice encouraged fans to upload “Smoothie Selfies” to Instagram for a shot at a gift card. In a CSR twist on this concept, Johnson & Johnson is asking consumers to share a “Selfless Selfie” via its Donate a Photo app—each share triggers a donation to a range of causes on J&J’s part, with participation tied to a gift pack giveaway.

Meanwhile, some are taking an ironic perspective. A clever campaign from The Cape Times in South Africa reimagined iconic photos featuring the likes of Churchill and Jackie Kennedy as selfies. And finally, spoofing the whole phenomenon, GooglePlay’s SnapCat is an app that ingeniously allows a cat to take its own picture, prompted by a moving red dot on the smartphone screen.

Image credit: Jamba Juice

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