#MannequinChallenge

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:

#MannequinChallenge

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.

So What?

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?

11 comments

  1. Absolutely agree with your opinion. At least politically it is a great way to show that you are connected and aware what is happening on all platforms. I wasn’t aware that the Clinton campaign used the #mannequinchallenge to their advantage, but I think it is awesome.

    For me, I see the #mannequinchallenge one of the many positives that come out of social media. High school students used a platform to have the quick 5 mins of fame. Although there will be a new viral trend, it shows many users, young and old, the power of social media and specifically Twitter. Viral performances likes these helps social media companies, especially Twitter stay afloat.
    Great post!

  2. francoismba · ·

    Over the last few days, numerous #mannequinchallenge videos have been popping up in my newsfeed; however, I hadn’t seen the Hillary Clinton rendition. I appreciate how you tied her campaign into this post as it shows how social media trends evolve (i.e. from sports teams to political campaigns). Has any data been released regarding the positive or negative impact of the “Don’t stand still. Vote today.” campaign? It would be interesting to see if this video did indeed appeal to younger voters.

  3. rohansuwarna · ·

    On Facebook and Twitter I have seen tons of Mannequin Challenge videos by sports teams and other groups as well. I feel like Clinton’s idea for using this is very similar to Barack Obama’s campaign strategy back in 2008. Obama used his videos with Jay-Z and many other pop stars to gain popularity amongst voters from the age of 18-25. Clinton and her campaign doing the Mannequin Challenge allows her to connect and reach out to voters in the age group. This was a key move by Obama to help him win. So, I’m interested to see the results for Clinton!

  4. jagpalsingh03 · ·

    I’m always fascinated by trends that go viral. Who would’ve ever thought that Jerry Jones would be pretending to be a mannequin while listening to Rae Sremmurd? And I think that’s the beauty of viral trends. They “bring people together” and anyone/everyone can join in. I hadn’t seen Clinton’s attempt at the challenge but I agree with you, she co-opted it well. Although it’s a shameless appropriation of the trend, the phrase “Don’t stand still. Vote today” is witty enough to forgive the attempt. Still, I wonder if this trend is going to last the next week or next month. Overall great post!

  5. fernaneq4 · ·

    This is just so funny to me. We talked a little bit in class about how rare it is for people or things to go viral. Every other day I see different challenges on my Facebook newsfeed but why was the ALS Bucket Challenge or the Mannequin Challenge chosen? From planking to dabbing, I’m not sure anyone could guess the next big thing. The first time I see these on my feed I think “how dumb.” Then by the 10000th time I see it I’m on board and I want to plank or dab or challenge! It’s intriguing how we’re all on the bandwagon of these trends (as I guess with any trend) but how we jump so quickly to find them fun and participate. Great read!

  6. You did such a great job of connecting this awesome, new mass-media trend to not only current events but also the power it has and the potential with the future of it. I think you capture the essence of this when you say detail the need to “hone the power of user-generated content. Using mass-media trends such as these, in my mind, is the future of advertising.” I couldn’t agree more, if #MannequinChallenge is what is trending days before the election, then make sure when that hashtag is searched or clicked on you’re content is there. Instead of detracting from the trend and dividing attention from the election and media fads, Hillary leveraged this viral sensation to get herself out there. In terms of advertising in the future, whether it be politics or companies, this only indicated companies are going to need to be more nimble and flexible, not only in discovering these trends but creating the content to capture the fad before its over. Days where brands decide for months about what content to release and “what it means” for the brand are over, decisions must be made in days and minutes and companies but be flexible enough to capture this kind of advertising last-minute.

  7. emmaharney21 · ·

    This is so interesting. I really agree that seemingly ridiculous viral trends can be leveraged in interesting ways. this kind of reminds me of the flash mob craze, Harlem shake, or planking. These trends went viral but did not have any obvious substance. It also makes me think of the ALS ice bucket challenge that also went viral but did have a significant meaning and positive effect. I think your example of encouraging voting is a good example o the link between the two. I also wonder if this is an area that business should be capitalizing on. I wonder if there is a space for businesses or organizations to capitalize on this space. I found this interesting article that Forbes posted comparing the Mannequin Challenge to the Harlem Shake http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonydimoro/2016/11/08/remember-the-harlem-shake-meet-the-mannequin-challenge/#66e5ca032345 You should check it out. The article showcases a lot of sports teams that are using the viral trend to do some marketing. I wonder what Lindsey Sutton would think about the role of businesses getting involved in viral trends like this. Anyone have any thoughts?

  8. Tyler O'Neill · ·

    Loved the article @copmania12! I think it’s interesting that trends such as this and the Harlem Shake have blown up recently. It will be interesting to see how the prevalence of this movement changes with time. Has it just started taking over the internet or will it be forgotten by Thanksgiving? Either way it has taken the social media world by storm. I definitely think it’s a good thing that people like Hillary Clinton, for example, have found a way to leverage social media trends in order to push their message/agenda. In the future I see this as a major opportunity for business to market themselves in a relatable way at little to no cost to the business.

  9. gabcandelieri · ·

    Interesting post! The Women’s Ice Hockey Team at BC has filmed a #MannequinChallenge video and my track team is in the process (although catching us mid-sprint has been a harder endeavor than we imagined). I think this challenge is not only a great promotional strategy, but also a unique way to bring people together in the pursuit of carefree fun. This idea definitely shows the lighthearted nature of social media and its capability to bring people together. As with the planking craze a few years ago, the videos that get the most traction are those that take the challenge a step further–with more interesting poses, locations, and perhaps celeb cameos, etc. If companies seek to truly make the most out of utilizing these media trends as a results-driven digital strategy, they must be willing to think outside the box, as Clinton clearly did. If adopted by various corporate organizations, these challenges also have the ability to soften their image, making them more approachable and their products, by association, perhaps more user-friendly.

    Here is the BC Women’s Ice Hockey’s version!

    http://www.ncaa.com/news/icehockey-women/article/2016-11-07/womens-ice-hockey-boston-college-starts-practice-mannequin

  10. Well, that explains that. Thanks for keeping me up to date on these trends. Reminds me of the HarlemShuffle craze a few years back.

  11. Remember any planking videos/pictures? No? Exactly. Trend of the moment that we’ll forget in a few months and replaced by something else which will fill our news feeds.

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