When the Oxford Dictionaries named the ‘selfie’ as the word of 2013, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the effect the #selfie would have just a few months later. Over the last few weeks, photos of my friends and family have been popping up all over my social media newsfeed, looking barefaced and fancy free, and it wasn’t long before a nomination to do the same came my way.
If I’m talking gibberish right now, then let me update you.
On the 18th March, women started posting photos of themselves on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram without make up with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie. The aim was to raise money for cancer research as those posting selfies were encouraged to donate to Cancer Research UK and nominate their friends to do the same, which is clearly a much healthier and sensible choice than the ‘NekNomination’ trend that was doing the rounds just a short time before.
The exact origin of the #nomakeupselfie is unknown and it certainly wasn’t started by the PR department for CRUK however they were quick to react to the craze by promoting it across their social networks and CRUK helped to make donating even easier by creating a text number that donations could be made to.
To date, the #nomakeupselfie has raised a staggering £8million. Cancer Research UK are an independent charity that receive no government funding for their research so they rely on donations in order to carry out the good they do. The money raised from the #nomakeupselfie will literally help to change lives.
— Cancer Research UK (@CR_UK) March 26, 2014
But what made this campaign go viral? How could it be so successful without a huge PR driving force behind it?
Undoubtedly the success of the campaign is down to its simplicity; simply take a snap, post it and text to donate. The fact that it started organically helped too as the public were the driving force behind the campaign and recruited other advocates for the campaign, gaining some serious media coverage. There’s no bells and whistles to be seen here; no fancy shock tactics (well, until you see your Aunty Maud without her usual rouge on), no HD short films and no cheesy, half-hearted celebrity endorsement. Just regular people using social media to its effective best, from Josephine Bloggs in the street to Kym Marsh from Corrie. Even men got involved by posting snaps of themselves wearing make up, genius!
When the photos started littering my Facebook timeline, I’ll openly admit, I questioned what on earth wearing no make up in a photo online had to do with raising money for a cancer charity. About as much as men growing a moustache during ‘Movember’ does for prostate cancer, I figured. Either way, awareness was spread, people were talking about it and money was, and is still, being raised. The fact that the #nomakeupselfie got people thinking ‘Why? What is this about?’ in the first place shows its success and, never one to shy away from the camera, it wasn’t long before my own #nomakeupselfie was posted, my own friends nominated and most importantly, my donation made.
Cancer Research have said that they will be using the money raised to carry out 10 clinical trials which they wouldn’t have had enough money for, if it hadn’t been for all of the donations received thanks to the #nomakeupselfie. I think that in itself speaks volumes and if we’re a step forward towards finding a cure for cancer then that is a great achievement, regardless of whether the campaign to raise the funds has anything to do directly with cancer or not. Personally, if I thought it would help find a cure for this dreadful illness, I’d run the length of Old Trafford, mid game, naked, wearing glittery nipple tassels.
What do you think is the success behind the #nomakeupselfie?
Let me know in the comments if you took part in the #nomakeupselfie and if not, you can jump on the bandwagon by posting your own selfie and texting BEAT to 70099 to donate £3 and help to save lives.
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