2013 was the year that "selfie" replaced "self-portrait" as the term for capturing an image of one's self, because in the age of the smartphone, who has time for portraiture?
In fact, the word “selfie” was the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year in 2013. President Obama posed for a selfie during the funeral for Nelson Mandela. And then there was the Pope selfie, so it goes without saying that marketers would set their sights on selfies as the next new tool to get their product in front of the eyeballs that matter.
Here's a look at some selfie marketing campaigns that worked (and a few that maybe didn’t).
This is brilliant. You’re a skin and beauty products company but you want to capture the feeling that over-sexualized advertising has been destructive to the self-image of women and girls. How do you do that? With the selfie. A person taking a photo of herself removes the “male gaze” of the photographer from the equation and presents the person exactly how she wants to be presented, within the limits of the length of her arm. As with anything that tackles body image, not everyone is a fan.
2. Ted Baker
UK-based retailer Ted Baker ran a selfie-based campaign before Christmas that encouraged shoppers to take selfies in front of an in-store display and then post it to social media in order to register for prizes.
3. James Franco
James Franco knows all about the selfie from like, a scholarly angle: "For every photo of a book, painting or poem, I try to post a selfie with a puppy, a topless selfie or a selfie with Seth Rogen, because these are all things that are generally liked." Seriously, he said that. James Franco is into selfies, and his followers are into his selfies.
4. Warby Parker
Eyeglass maker Warby Parker faced a tough problem: how to get people comfortable buying eyeglasses online. Their solution: send the customer their top five choices and have them take selfies trying them on to post on social media to get their friends’ opinions. A plan that gives their customers the feedback they need to part with a few hundred dollars, and Warby Parker gets a bunch of social media marketing for free.
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5. Pet Beauty
OK, so Pet Beauty is a beauty salon, for pets, in Brazil. Just further proof that the United States is falling behind its Latin American cousins in the race for pet selfies, which tapped into the #instadog fever on Instagram.
To celebrate its 30th birthday, the Hooters chain invited its former waitresses to come back to Hooters to shoot selfies with the hashtag #stepintoawesome, with a website for customers to upload their own Hooter selfies -- a marketing strategy that doesn’t take into consideration that some Hooters customers would rather no one knew they were ever there.
7. The Cape Times
Yes, the Cape Times, your favorite South African newspaper has done it again. No, seriously. This ad campaign of historical photos doctored to look like selfies is great eye candy, and maybe it tells the audience, "Hey, these pictures don’t typically take themselves, y'know. Buy a newspaper, hippy." Or something like that.
8. Turkish Airlines
No, we haven’t flown them either, but this Mediterranean-based air carrier hired two of the greatest living athletes with global brand recognition -- Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi -- to star in a one-minute YouTube video of the two taking selfies around the globe. The result? 136.5 million views.
9. The Walking Dead
It’s a show about zombies on a network that’s supposed to be about movies. And people don’t want to be zombies; they want to be the one guy that survives the zombie apocalypse with that one girl or something. But AMC has tapped into its brain-craving zombie fans and the selfie craze with a “dead yourself” app that helps you know what you might look like seven-to-ten days after you stop breathing. People like this?
10. New York Public Library
This stodgy old library (remember those?) felt forced to reinvent itself, so it put a selfie photo booth in two downtown branch locations and encouraged visitors to get their picture taken, branded with the NYPL logo, and then to share it with their social media peeps. The results are kind of great, and helps remind everyone to visit a library on the reg.
Have you seen a selfie campaign that's interesting? Let us know in the comments.