You Smile We Smile: The Marketing Power Of The Selfie

The selfie has exceeded all cultural phenomena. It’s gone from a social trend, to a celebrity habit, to an essential marketing tool that has seen been used by the likes of Samsung and Turkish Airlineshave all used the method, and it doesn’t seem to have show any signs of slowing down.

Full Tilt: The Brand That’s Done It Right

AntonThe latest brand to point the camera is Full Tilt Poker, whose Full Tilt Showdown campaign caught the imagination of card players on Twitter, encouraging them to transform themselves into poker pros Gus Hansen and Viktor Blom in a selfie competition, with the winners receiving the opportunity to go head-to-head with them at the poker tables for $5,000.

The campaign, which culminated in the people earning the most retweets getting to take on the pros, generated high levels of engagement with over 2,000 mentions regarding the Gus Hansen mask alone.






By creating unique hashtags for the campaign – #HUBlom & #HUGus – Full Tilt was also able to utilise a streamlined interaction channel, hosting all user submissions in one centralised location to generate a greater buzz around the competition.

Full Tilt and other brands have noticed the rising marketing potential behind the selfie
Peteand have since incorporated tailored ‘selfie campaigns’ as part of their social media marketing strategies. The cost-effectiveness aspect to Full Tilt’s selfie campaign by creating it as a fun and engaging competition was pivotal to its success.

Full Tilt understood that by offering an incentive to their audience, they would be able to connect with them on an emotional level which would then translate into their audience taking the desired action (taking and submitting their selfie).

The Selfies Real Influence

The power of the selfie is no real surprise. You only have to look at the infamous Oscar selfie – which was incidentally a Samsung ploy that got out of hand – to see the joy it brings to people’s faces, even the most serious of actors.

It’s a technique that has been used for a while now and with the likes of the Full Tilt Showdown and the current Weight Watchers UK Healthy Selfie promotion still going strong, it’ll be a while before these types of campaigns come to an end.

However, it isn’t just big businesses using the method. As mentioned, the beauty of encouraging selfies in social media is that it’s
an inexpensive way to help build a brand.

Rebecca Hunt, who was previously voted UK Young Hairdresser of the Year, uses the tool to promote her salon in Southampton, handing out free products as prizes to those who take a photo of their new hairdo across platforms.

She said of her campaign, “Clients are constantly bombarded with glossy images of hair in the media that are often enhanced. This imagery is often seen as unachievable; however a photograph taken by a genuine client portrays a certain honesty that people can relate to.”

And in essence that’s what all businesses are trying to do – relate to their audience. During this year alone, it’s estimated that selfies taken could surpass the 250 billion mark, although with that does come an element of danger, too.

Ben Austin, CEO for Absolute Digital Media said in an interview with, “If you are planning to run competitions or discounts for those who post a selfie of themselves with your product, your biggest concern should be making sure you aren’t alienating the slightly less forward members of your audience.”

This means that planning is essential for any kind of selfie campaign. Samsung of course didn’t need to plan; they simply supplied a phone to actors at the Oscars and let them run with it – naturally in a room full of people who perform in front of a camera every day, something would happen – but that was a one-off.

Done the right way, it can be an incredibly effective marketing idea, but implementing it before the craze gets tired is a must, or negativity will certainly take over and it could be a hugely counterproductive campaign.



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