Redefining the “Selfie”

The “Selfie”. We all know what it is.  It looks something like this:

Yep those are all me. From last March through this past December. That lovely lady in the first picture with me is my rescue greyhound, Fiona (aka Dave’s Party. You can watch her races over at Track Info and see why she now lives the luxurious life of an adopted greyhound) who we brought home in December.

Anyway, we are seeing more and more derisive comments about selfies. Even the urban dictionary definition is pretty snarky:

A picture taken of yourself that is planned to be uploaded to Facebook, Myspace or any other sort of social networking website. You can usually see the person’s arm holding out the camera in which case you can clearly tell that this person does not have any friends to take pictures of them so they resort to Myspace to find internet friends and post pictures of themselves, taken by themselves. A selfie is usually accompanied by a kissy face or the individual looking in a direction that is not towards the camera.

There’s even a charity activity going on right now that you can accuse someone of posting a selfie and they have to pay $1 — donated all to a good cause of course: http://selfiepolice.org/ .

The Oxford Dictionary even went so far as to give “Selfie” the esteemed title of “Word of the Year” for 2013. And let’s not forget all of the crazy commentary on this famous selfie:

So leave it to Dove to take this “Selfie” concept in a different direction. Rather than using it as a commentary on a “self absorbed” generation that doesn’t care about anything but image, they’ve called out the self-empowering opportunity that the selfie can provide. In an era of photoshopped imagery, when the so-called beauty or fashion or entertainment industry is telling us every day how we should look and should feel, Dove is saying, hey, let’s see what happens when we encourage young women and their mom’s to take selfie’s as a commentary on their own beauty.

This is part of their continuing branding strategy to be the beauty product solution for “real women”. What is great about what they are doing is they are creating videos that speak to women of all walks of life. Of all ages. It is a painful and sad truth that we all struggle with self-esteem issues.  The marketing team at Dove is capitalizing on that, and in the process creating an interesting dialogue with their #beautyis campaign.  Does it translate into sales for them?  Maybe, maybe not. But it does add another perspective to this idea that social media is just selfish and showing off.

Regardless of the blurred lines of Uniliver/Dove and the many ways in which we could dissect this campaign from an ethical perspecitve, the video and the message is very powerful indeed. I know it struck a chord with me.

Read more about the #beautyis campaign here: http://www.dove.us/Our-Mission/Real-Beauty/default.aspx

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