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Brands piggyback the selfie

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MUMBAI: When Oscars 2014 host Ellen DeGeneres posted a selfie co-starring some of Hollywood’s finest stars, it went on to crash the record hitherto held by President Barrack Obama. At the end of the awards’ ceremony, DeGeneres’ “Best photo ever” stood at 2,070,132 retweets and counting; a milestone in social media history. More importantly, the fact that Degeneres had clicked the iconic selfie using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (given to her by the brand itself) wasn’t lost on the teeming tweeple. In fact, various international reports stated that 37 million people worldwide tuned in to the broadcast to view DeGeneres’ tweet while 43 million tuned in just to view the Samsung snap.

Taking a cue from Samsung and other such international brands, home-grown brands too are increasingly tapping into the marketing potential of the selfie, allegations of narcissism notwithstanding. For instance, Dove and Ponds from the house of HUL are running a large-scale social media contest incorporating the selfie element even as we speak. When contacted, company officials refrained from sharing any details. However, it is learnt that along with cross promotions, these products are creating a lot of noise across social media platforms.

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At least a dozen Indian brands are putting the selfie to good use. ”Selfies are the latest fad and something that would instantly connect with our customers. From celebrities to teenagers to even middle-aged people, everyone today is suddenly using their phone cameras to not only click their surroundings but themselves,” said Lenskart CEO & founder, Peyush Bansal. Recently, Lenskart rolled out a social media campaign, asking for selfies from its fan base. “The idea was to see how involved our customers are in our products. We wanted to engage the online customers in a fun Lenskart selfie contest by asking them to take a selfie, share it on our and their social media pages by linking and tagging Lenskart through all platforms and using the hashtag - #mylenskartselfie. They had to ask all their friends to ‘like’, ‘favourite’ their selfies and the ones with the maximum number of likes won the contest,” said Bansal.

Force-fitting selfie-ness

Using selfies to market products is fine but the general perception is that all brands, from beauty to surrogate, are looking to engage social media by calling for selfies. We spoke to a few social media experts for their views.

“Not every brand can pull off a selfie stunt and hope to make it an instant social media hit. It needs to connect with the audiences; it should come across as something natural or on the spur of the moment and not staged. Unless one makes no bones about it but does it in style,” said Grey Digital executive creative director Navin Kansal.

On the other hand, Digital Quotient COO Vinish Kathuria, expressed the view that curated content really works for brands these days. “It is interesting to see that various brands are thinking in terms of crowd sourcing techniques while rolling out contests on social media,” he said.  

Whether the continued use of selfies will work for brands or it will reach a point of saturation, only time will tell.

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