It has only been a few years now since a quite selfish trend entered our lives (and the Oxford dictionary): selfies. It hit us, we loved it and we participated, all together. Looking at the famous phenomenon now, I think we can all agree that selfies have become an integral part of many people’s personal lives, so it will not come as a surprise when I say that, nowadays, 1 million selfies are taken every single day. It goes even this far that in 2015, more people have already died from selfies than from shark attacks. Sometimes we are so eager of taking a selfie (even if we are standing on top of a building), that we are literally dying for taking pictures of ourselves. We have taken it to a whole other level, a sometimes dangerous one.
Hot tweetaway: More people died from #selfies than from shark attacks insit.es/1PcyZ86 by @MasNatalie via @CoolBrands #millennials #nextgen #geny #genz
From selfies to belfies & welfies
Not only are we willing to go that extra (dangerous) mile to capture that perfect selfie, we are even that inventive that our world goes beyond the entire selfie craze. Nowadays, selfies an sich are sometimes not enough anymore, so we need something the same but different. So we came up with thousands of variations on the popular selfie.
Taking a picture of your back became a belfie (thanks, Kim Kardashian, for bringing that into the world). Taking a picture of yourself before, during or after working out, became a welfie. Taking a picture with a camel became a camelfie (been there, done that). Taking a picture of you and a group of friends at the seaside, became an ussie and/or seafie. I can go on and on about this… The point is, whatever selfie variant you want to create to caption your picture, you can. One has never experienced so many variants, so get yourself going :).
A selfie stick, spoon or toaster, anyone?
With all this pressure we are feeling to capture all our selfies, welfies and ussies in the most perfect and the most original way, we sometimes need a little help along the way; that is when the selfie stick made it into our lives. I don’t think I need to remind you what a selfie stick is, as I’m sure you have already seen one, got one yourself or got annoyed by one; they simply are everywhere and I have to admit, they look a bit weird. Hundreds of thousands of selfie sticks have been sold in the U.S. since this summer – it has even been declared the most popular holiday gift of 2014. However, not everyone is equally amused with this selfie stick frenzy, as a lot of public places, festivals and international events such as Walt Disney World, the MOMA and Coachella banned selfie sticks recently.
Still, the commercial world is inventing the craziest tools to respond to the selfie craze. There already are special Bluetooth-enabled remotes on the market that you can use for taking selfies without touching your phone. And even crazier, there now even are things like the selfie brush, the selfie toaster and even the belfie stick. I will not dwell on this, but it speaks for itself: selfies have taken over the world and have inspired the commercial and marketing world to go along with this trend and do the craziest things with it. And then I have not even mentioned the selfie spoon yet. US cereal brand Cinnamon Toast Crunch brought the selfie spoon to life as part of an advertising campaign, where people could take pictures of themselves while eating the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
Is your brand jumping on the selfie bandwagon as well?
So, have you already been thinking about how you can utilize this trend for the exposure of your brand? Many brands already have, apparently. An Adweek infographic shows that, over the past few years, the number of brands using selfies or selfie contests in their marketing campaigns has been increasing gradually. So there definitely are opportunities for your brand(s) to act upon this selfie trend within your marketing strategy, provided you keep in mind what will resonate with your target consumers. You have to ask yourself whether the consumers you want to target with your marketing campaign will benefit from the selfies integration in it. Will you be able to empower them, give them a boost with the campaign? Then go for it. Products like jewelry, make-up or other physical additions that make people feel good about themselves are perfect examples here. These are things people want to show off, so giving them the opportunity to do so is the perfect basis for selfie integration and promotion. Just make sure your campaign is perfectly aligned with your brand’s core image and you will be just fine.
Hot tweetaway: Is your brand jumping on the #selfie bandwagon? insit.es/1PcyZ86 by @MasNatalie via @CoolBrands #millennials #nextgen #geny #genz
One of my favorites on the matter is the Axe #kissforpeace campaign, launched at the Super Bowl in February last year. To get youngsters involved in the honor of International Peace Day, they encouraged people to spread love and goodwill worldwide by kissing and sharing their kiss pictures on social media, with the hashtag #KissForPeace. The result? More than 34,000 tweets and 8,000 Instagram posts with the hashtag, so definitely a lot of love-spreading :).
Other great selfie campaigns are Ray-Ban’s self(ie) reflection app, where double exposure images can be created and shared online; there is also Carlsberg’s #BarBandits campaign, where a combination of selfies, a virtual slot machine and a beer tap might just get you a free beer… :). Even the non-commercial world is participating in the selfie trend: Cancer Research UK raised more than 1 million pounds last year through their #nomakeupselfie campaign, where women were asked to post photos of themselves online without make-up, with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie.
So, now the real question is: what is next in this fascinating world of selfies? I have no idea, but rumor has it that the selfie emoji will be launched soon… Looking forward to that!