Remember when your high school class pictures came out? What was the first thing you
anxiously searched for? I bet you couldn’t wait to make sure that your eyes weren’t closed, your t-shirt was stain-free or that other unfortunate mishaps wouldn’t make you look like a hopeless geek. Now think again: Has this changed at all since you were a teen? The answer is: probably no. We are still very much interested in how WE look in a group photo with our friends, colleagues and even with our family. Indeed, it seems that seeing ourselves is what makes an image, a video or any other media message highly relevant.
Let’s look at the creepy Facebook thriller Take this Lollipop as an example. In only a few days, it was viewed by millions of people, making it one of the most successful viral videos of all times. One reason why this online horror movie was so fascinating was because the viewers themselves played the main role. Personal pictures and Facebook content were integrated into the storyline. Interestingly, “Take this Lollipop” was created by the same guy who landed a huge viral success with Elf Yourself – the Office Max video that used the same principle of integrating the viewer into the film. So, when the content creator tells us a compelling story about “ourselves”, we simply HAVE to watch it.
Research shows that seeing ourselves use a particular product influences our behavior and increases our preference for precisely that product. And brands have acted accordingly. Fun campaigns like “Personalized M&M’s,” where you can put your face on the candy, immediately spring to mind. Emanate has also launched some great projects that play with our innate vanity, too: The awesome “Awkward Family Vacation Photo Contest” is just one of them.
All this tells us that often times the shortest path to engaging a consumer, and driving them to action, is to put them – literally – in the content. That boosts the relevance factor in a big way.