In "that's kind of silly" news, Oxford Dictionaries declared 2013 the year of the "selfie." Then, only a few months later, Ellen broke Twitter with her celeb-studded Oscars selfie (snapped with a Galaxy Note, to Samsung's "delight"). Go ahead and hate on the now ubiquitous social media self-photo all you want. But its popularity isn't a huge surprise. Admit it: You've taken them. You've posted them. The fact that we've now given the phenomenon such an adorable little moniker has only fueled these tendencies.
Of course, marketers are never far behind a good pop culture trend, and nothing signifies this more than the selfie. Turkish Airlines took the selfie to new heights with its celebrity-driven campaign featuring an epic game of oneupmanship between Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant. This was obviously a high-budget and high-profile marketing manifestation of the selfie. However, plenty of other brands got in on the action -- and continue to do so.
So which brands have most successfully and uniquely socialized the selfie? Let's take a look.
Purina's doggie selfies
What's better than a selfie? Well, a selfie of a dog, of course. Kudos to the folks at Purina Pro Plan for realizing that. They partnered with the Twitter Mirror to set up a dog-level iPad backstage at the Westminster Dog Show. Throughout the competition, pristine pups stopped by to snap and tweet their selfies.
Dove's "Selfie" short film
At some point, we'll all get sick of having to include Dove on "best of" campaign lists. But until then, this list wouldn't be complete without this waterworks-inducing marketing titan. In the case of Dove's recent "Selfie" short film, the brand flips the idea of the selfie as a tool of vanity to position it as a tool for building confidence in women, which continues to be at the heart of the brand's strategy.
Wired U.K.'s selfie cover
After Wired embraced the celebrity selfie (of BuzzFeed's Jonah Peretti) on the cover of its January edition, in February, the magazine decided to also embrace the every-man selfie. It invited readers to download the free Wired app, grab a copy of the February 2014 sample magazine, snap a selfie to replace the magazine's cover image, and share it via social with the #wiredgoesviral hashtag. At the time of this writing, Wired U.K. planned to feature a selection of the best covers on Wired.co.uk, with a single selfie being published in the next issue of the magazine.
BBDO Guerrero and Droga5: Selfless selfies
Sick of the selfie vanity? So were these agencies. After Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, Manila agency BBDO Guerrero launched the #unselfie, encouraging people to raise awareness of the need for UNICEF donations by taking faceless photos of themselves holding up the charity's details.
Similarly, in December, Droga5 Europe launched the #selflessselfie T-shirt. It encouraged people to buy a T-shirt with the #selflessselfie logo on it (all proceeds benefitting ActionAid's efforts in the Philippines), take a selfie wearing the shirt, and post the photo to social media to spread awareness.
Meet "the world's first Instagram hotel." Yep, that's a thing.
The 1888 Hotel in Sydney loves Instagrammers. Users with more than 10,000 followers can redeem a free night at the hotel, and the hotel encourages visitors to take the "Pyrmont Insta-Walk," a 45-minute, photo-snapping stroll around the hotel and nearby harbor. But to top it all off, the hotel has installed a "selfie space" in its lobby, where guests can take pictures, tag #1888Hotel, and see their images appear on the screens near reception.
Lancome's "Project #bareselfie"
Seemingly taking a page in women's confidence-building from Dove, Lancome recently encouraged women to take selfies of themselves, sans makeup, and share it with the tag #bareselfie. The campaign encouraged women to be proud of their skin and stop hiding behind makeup and filters. Of course, the campaign happens to also be a nice tie-in with the company's DreamTone product, which purports to correct blemishes and even out skin tones without blush or powder.