June 25, 2014
When Wheat Thins tried to interest Times Square tourists in a “selfie” contest to promote its new cracker in April, the brand found few takers, FastCompany.com reports.
The somewhat complicated gimmick asked people to take photos of themselves in front of a Wheat Thins display, then follow the brand on Instagram and post the pictures with two promotional hashtags. The 10 participants with the most “likes” would then receive a “personalized selfie” from TV personality Kelly Osbourne.
Many other brands have attempted to jump aboard the selfie bandwagon, including Samsung, with its paid placement for a celebrity group shot at the Academy Awards; selfie contests from Jamba Juice and Bloomingdale’s; and even a movie that Dove made for the Sundance Film Festival, called “Selfie.”
Brands might think that Internet fads offer big potential for user-generated, social-media-fueled marketing, but such trend-chasing is desperate, lazy and bad for business. FastCompany.com writes. Not long ago, so-called “flash mobs” were the hot idea that brands tried to exploit, followed by the “Harlem Shake” dance craze and other passing fancies.
For the Wheat Thins promotion, the “personalized selfie” turned out to be a photo of Osbourne holding a sign listing the 10 winners’ Instagram handles. And as FastCompany.com points out, she used both hands to hold the list, while someone else took the photo. — Greg Beaubien