Selfie Awareness

In Millennial Marketing, a picture could be worth a lot more than a thousand words

Photo negative? Some broadcasters might have criticized these Millennials for taking
a slew of selfies at a ballgame, but we applaud their selfie confidence.

By now, you’ve seen the video.  Surely you have.

Eight sorority sisters from the Arizona State chapter of Alpha Chi Omega were caught on camera during a late-September broadcast of a Diamondbacks-Rockies baseball game. For two solid minutes, the camera was locked on the young women in the throes of selfie absorption.

Selfie after selfie they snapped, posing for themselves, alone or with their friends or with the food they were eating. Or with their food and their friends. With their friends’ food, even.

The announcers – Steve Berthiaume and former World Series-winning manager, Bob Brenly – couldn’t look away. (To be fair, if you had to watch every game of the 2015 Diamondbacks, you’d be searching for distractions in the middle of Game 156, too). They were far more interested in providing play-by-play of, as they noted exhaustively, the fans taking a “selfie with the hot dog, selfie with the churro.”

That David Peralta was about to single off Chad Bettis to lead off the fourth inning seemed even less compelling to the broadcast crew than to the Alpha Chi’s. The girls never looked away from their phones, and the announcers couldn’t look away from them.

Within days, this game video went viral. Millions of people watched it online. Newspaper columnists and news anchors and sports talk show hosts all offered up their commentary – some bashed the girls for ignoring the ballgame, others bashed the broadcasters for their relentless mocking of the girls. As you would expect, much of the conversation split along the great Pro-Selfie and Anti-Selfie divide.

Now, I love a good baseball game. I love a good churro as much as the next guy. And though I may not be a resident of Generation Selfie, I am not against the selfie itself. Quite the contrary.

I haven’t appeared in more than a few select selfies, but I get them. As a veteran journalist, I stand in full support of any effort made toward documenting events and experiences. In that regard, the selfie has become the world’s most popular and democratic form of first person storytelling. There is no wrong place for selfie expression, people proudly proclaiming “I Was Here” wherever they were. They take selfies with besties, selfies with the Pope and with Kings (a bunch of kids taking a selfie with LeBron James made Sports Center earlier this week). And, yes, selfies with churros if that’s what the situation called for. If Vincent Van Gogh were alive today, he’d be first in line to swap his paint brush for a smart phone and start snapping away his signature selfie portraits.

What I can’t understand are the curmudgeons who criticize behavior they see as selfie destructive. It goes beyond grouchy, this bemoaning and besmirching of the selfie. It’s actually bad business. A selfie defeating prophecy, if you will.

At Newbridge, we hold this truth to be selfie-evident: a lot of creative minds in the product marketing world have found a way to ride this wave of selfie unrestraint. And Millennials are loving the steady stream of new selfie help products.

Take the selfie stick, for example – the monopod no-brainer that was included in Time’s list of the top inventions of 2014. It’s become a must-have on college campuses. Now, there are underwater selfie sticks for Go Pro cameras. There’s even a selfie stick that’s attached to a fake arm, so you can pretend someone else is taking a picture of you. Inspired ideas, these selfie supplements.

Think about how cosmetics companies have capitalized on lines of makeup designed entirely for looking your best in selfies. A recent article in the New York Times referenced pioneering strides Cover Girl and Avon have made into this selfie-facing category.

What’s next, you wonder? How about the Selfie Drone, allegedly on its way from Samsung?

We applaud such growing selfie-awareness and encourage precisely this kind of selfie consciousness in our partners. Companies who understand what matters to Millennials will have a better chance of connecting to them.

After all, for Millennials, it’s always time for their close-up. Even if it’s in the middle of a ballgame.

David Seigerman’s latest book, Take Your Eye Off The Ball 2.0 (Triumph Books)
will be released this fall. Follow him at @dseigs18.

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