Crazes and trends that blow up on the internet overnight are nothing new. The power of the meme is nothing to be taken lightly, and speed-of-light information sharing has become the norm. In this digital age, transferring information is as easy as a click of a button. It is thanks to our current digital mode of operation that we are provided with widespread entertainment and discovery in abundance. And as with any widespread mass of information, we as a cyber community deem some ideas as just better than others. And what do we do with those ideas that we admire above the rest? Copy them of course! Mimicry is the highest form of flattery, and as a result, we have had the pleasure of being entertained by internet bandwagons such as the icebucketchallenge, planking, Harambe humor, and even deathly clown sightings. No, the internet never ceases to amaze when it comes to influencing us to make complete fools out of ourselves for the sake of sensationalism and the prospect of temporary stardom- and aren’t we all the happier for it? So without further ado…
If you haven’t heard about it yet, let me be the first to introduce you to:
By way of introduction, the Milwaukee Bucks.
What is it?
The #MannequinChallenge is the newest trend online. Essentially, everyone in the video freezes in place, and no one but the person filming is allowed to move. But that is not all- to execute this challenge “correctly”, Hip Hop artist Ræ Sremmurd’s newest song “Black Beatles” must be playing at top volume in the background. Not all participants in the challenge, however, have followed this musical selection. The Dallas Cowboys, for example, recorded their #MannequinChallenge to celebrate their top ranked 7-1 standing in the NFC East… And so did their Exec board.
Sports teams across the country, from high school to the pros, are getting involved in the #MannequinChallenge, and most of them are pretty impressive. My personal favorite is Penn State’s rendition of the challenge after their victory over the Hawkeyes this past Saturday.
Where did it come from?
Unsurprisingly, this trend is growing at insanely fast rates. Monday morning, CNN reported that an instagram query for #MannequinChallenge turned up as many as 56,000 results. Right now, not even twenty-four hours later, the result comes out to 106,095 posts using the trend hashtag.
The trend supposedly got off the ground in late October thanks to a group of high school students at Edward H. White High School in Jacksonville, Florida. The original tweet now has over four thousand retweets and favorites, and there are rumors that the students may be interviewed on various different daily talk shows and daytime television broadcasts.
Like any good internet craze, both the intentions and the results of the spread are fairly innocent and light-hearted. We are providing entertainment to one another, and possibly engaging in some friendly competition by proving who can hold their breath and resist from blinking their eyes for longer. Unless, of course, you are the Army Gymnastics Team, in which case you are showcasing your godly strength and discipline. From my own observations it seems 50+ aged participants have a tougher time keeping still and staying in mannequin form than their younger counterparts… but that is neither here nor there. Whatever the case may be, all participants are using this trend as a way to spread some cheer and get some laughs. That being said, as it is election day, I feel compelled to point out that this trend was quickly picked up by the political world, as well. Rather ingeniously in my opinion, Hillary’s campaign team grabbed on to this internet trend and used it to their advantage in the last few campaigning days. My assumption is that the following video was recorded in an effort to encourage and appeal to the younger, more tech-savvy and culturally in tune generation of voters.
Following the #MannequinChallenge video with a punny catch-line like “Don’t stand still. Vote today” is in my opinion pretty effective. But, as with all political views and quality assessments, you are free to make your own judgments on how successful this campaign initiative really is. Either way, the truth will be reflected in the results which we will (hopefully) know by the end of the day!
While celebrities and well-known sports teams typically hop on to cyber-trends such as these, I find it more rare that political and industrial campaigns should 1. be aware and 2. capitalize on trends such as these to use to their benefit. I think it is a really effective marketing technique, and a way that companies and politicians alike can hone the power of user-generated content. Using mass-media trends such as these, in my mind, is the future of advertising. And while I think that we have seen this sort of marketing aggregation to some extent, I believe we’ll see it more in years to come. After all, who doesn’t want to become internet famous?