How to Ride on the Selfie Wave to Promote Your Brand


Selfie- a word that didn’t exist a year ago has made its way into the common vocabulary. The selfie is undoubtedly one of the most popular social trends that has taken over the internet as well as made its way into daily life with apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. From Barack Obama to our very own Narendra Modi , everyone is  bitten by the selfie bug. Brands capitalizing on selfies for their promotion is not a new thought- anyone who watched the 2014 Oscars will know how it’s done (The Ellen selfie for Samsung)!  This phenomenon is so popular that it has an eponymous song and music video as well!

But what is the recipe for creating user generated selfies for the promotion of your brand?  To be honest, there are no hard and fast rules or guaranteed concoction for success- a viral selfie campaign will depend on the creativity of your campaign and how well it resonates with your audience. Humorous or thought provoking, your campaign needs to be something your audience wants to tell their friends about. As the big ideas are not something that come by every day, here are a few tried and tested ways brands encourage their customers to promote them through selfies:-

Contests ‘sell’fie your brand

Hold contests involving selfies and your brand in it. It was done in a great way by the apparel retailer, Urban Hilton Weiner. They turned the general habit of taking a picture inside the trial room to their advantage by encouraging customers to tweet the picture with the hashtag #urbanselfie. Customers who posted a picture of them trying on the brand’s clothing got upto a $10 coupon. This encouraged people to visit the store and become brand ambassadors.On similar lines,  American apparel’s back to school selfie contest, #AABTS, it was required to include an american apparel item in their selfie to participate in the contest.

Another successful example is Pond’s #PondsSelfieReady contest, where participants have to post their selfies on social media for a chance to win gifts and hampers from the brand.

A selfie with a twist

Come up with concept that looks at selfies in a new light. For example, VIP skybags #backisthenewfront campaign is about taking selfies from the back. Another example is the #unselfie campaign was to write call for actions for charities you support on a piece of paper and take a selfie with the paper covering your face – hence, taking an unselfish selfie. These campaigns of redefining selfies catch the audience’s attention.

Situation or occasion selfie

Ask people to send their selfies for an occasion, for example, during the summer months, you could run a vacation selfie contest. If not the vacation season, then work selfie, or say, bad hair day selfie (just an example!).

Action for a selfie

Around Valentine’s day, Axe launched its campaign #KissForPeace, where participants had to take a picture of them kissing to spread the brand’s message of non-violence.

The #NoMakeupSelfie campaign raised £ 8 million for Cancer Research UK. The concept was to take a selfie without any makeup to raise awareness for breast cancer and then donate towards breast cancer research. After completing their challenge, participants had to nominate their friends to do the challenge on social media.


Humans are social creatures and have an innate need for self expression. In today’s social media world, having your opinions heard-selfies is one of the ways to give your customers the opportunity to express themselves. Remember, it is not necessary that you tie your products into your selfie campaign.