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The success of #nomakeupselfie


Photo: Paul Swan/Twitter 


Making excellent use of the most popular word of 2013 ‘selfie’, a recent social media craze has swept the nation, all in the name of charity.


Surprisingly not the brainchild of a PR, advertising or creative agency, the #nomakeupselfie ‘campaign’ has raised more than £8m for Cancer Research UK and was born from women taken photos of themselves with no make-up on.


Whether everyone who posted their #nomakeupselfie donated to charity is another matter – even Katherine Jenkins and Gwyneth Paltrow got involved - but regardless it was an extremely successful campaign and a great example of the power of social media.


The most surprising element of this craze is that it wasn’t started by a charity. But the intended recipient, Cancer Research UK, was quick to jump on the bandwagon and posted messages about how to support its work.


Although surrounded by a degree of cynicism and a number of spoof reactive campaigns, by the evening of 20th March, the #nomakeupselfie hashtag had been used 51,000 times on Twitter.


But it’s not all been plain sailing…#nomakeupselfie has also caused some confusion after people incorrectly donated to Unicef instead of Cancer Research UK.


By texting ‘donate’ instead of ‘beat’ people have donated more than £18,000 to Unicef, something with the charity is working with Cancer Research UK to sort out.


As a marketing communications agency that has specialised predominantly in PR, but also offers social media services, we love seeing great campaigns and the #nomakeupselfie craze is a fantastic example of people power that has caught the media’s attention.


It’s been great to see journalists reporting positively on a news story, rather than negatively, which has tended to be the trend with social media campaigns, such as #neknomination, which led to people sadly losing their lives by drinking strange concoctions.


I’m sure many brands will aim to achieve similar success to #nomakeupselfie with their social media campaigns, but the eternal cynic inside of me sadly thinks not.

Tagged with: #nomakeupselfie, Cancer Research UK, selfie, Twitter, Unicef

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