Facebook newsfeeds have been flooded with images of women and teenagers snapping photos stating that they’re wearing no makeup in order to raise awareness of Cancer. This follows the craze of neknominations, where people filmed themselves downing a concoction of alcohol and nominating their friends to take part.
The no makeup selfies are certainly a lot safer however the trend seems to be no less controversial than promoting alcohol abuse. Many people have become keyboard warriors and took to the usual routes of social media in venting their opinions. Some have embraced the movement and used it as a chance to empower themselves as females. Others have taken part for nothing more than supporting loved ones who have been a victim of Cancer, and the remainder have been very confused men unsure as to why their newfeeds are full of mug shots and angry individuals who are outraged by the trend.
Regardless as to the reason behind taking a no makeup selfie and posting it for the world to see or the rising anger by people who think you should do more than take a photo and in fact actually donate money, Cancer Research UK are winning. I’m sure their marketing team has taken an extended weekend since the uprising of the no makeup selfies movement on Facebook, as it was in fact a campaign they had nothing to do with.
The uproar can be traced back to actress Kim Novak, who was criticized for her appearance at the Academy Awards earlier this month. The American actress was known for her beautiful looks in her earlier years and starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, yet in recent times has undergone extensive plastic surgery to her face. Kim was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and bipolar disorder in 2012 therefore following the cruelty Kim received by the press, author Laura Lippman posted a makeup-free selfie on Facebook in solidarity – this brings us up to speed with how the no makeup selfie became viral and in support for Cancer Research UK.
With the truth uncovered about the trend it’s worth looking at the outcomes for Cancer Research UK, one of the biggest charities in the UK. Among all the controversy there is no direct negativity towards the charity, people are either saying they’re taking a photo to raise awareness of cancer and the charity or that you should stop taking photos and donate money to them instead – which in fact is a win-win.
As time goes on it’ll be interesting to visit the topic again, to see the increase Cancer Research UK received in online and media reach as well as donations. Regardless, no matter how you choose to support a devastating illness such as cancer, even a mention of the charity on your social media outlets is creating awareness to the few hundred people you have as friends on the site. Now times that by the amount of people who are posting selfies (including the celebrities who have jumped on the bandwagon and the thousands of fans they might have) and consider the impact.
Whether money is being donated or not it’s all brand awareness – free brand awareness, no paid advertising, no expensive campaign – imagine people just arguing virally about the best way to support your brand effectively.
Over to you
What do you think? How can social trends turn into clever marketing?