Filling your Instagram feed with fresh ideas can be challenging at times, which is where Internet trends come in! Such as the currently trending rage, #MannequinChallenge, which is when people pose in interesting actions, and the camera floats between them, giving you a micro-glimpse into an emotion or experience within that setting.
When I saw my first Mannequin Challenge on Instagram, it was by accident, and I didn't know what I was watching, or why. The visual strength held my attention, and despite it looking freaky cool, I neglected to think about it as a marketer and its awesome powers of showing my business in a new light. Until Christa Page, co-founder of 50Roots.com, hosted a pop-up shop in our office and declared to me that she challenged herself to do a Mannequin Challenge during the shop's Happy Hour.
Of course! Brilliance! And she did a great job, in only one take! Look at all of those people in the shop!
The Effect of a Mannequin Challenge
The freeze frame style of action is immediately captivating. The eye can focus on people frozen in an action, without having to look everywhere in a video to see what people are doing and miss. The director(s) of the Mannequin Challenge can create the desired scene of how they wish their customers, clients, browsers, happy people, thoughtful people, whatever people are in their space. The poses immediately emit what your brand offers and stands for.
The Background of a Mannequin Challenge
The Internet credits several with the origin of the Mannequin Challenge, from Millennials (they get credited with everything!), to Zack Morris doing the original Mannequin Challenge from Saved By the Bell when he would yell "Timeout!" and the cast would freeze while he pondered something. My landlord, Deborah Bigelow of Gilded Twig, a very wise woman who maybe has listened to every podcast ever, immediately connected the concept to a John Huston movie staring Stacy Keach in Fat City, in which Huston called for a freeze frame at the end of the movie. Keach discusses this tactic with Alec Baldwin during an interview on "Here's The Thing".
In Huston's freeze frame, the camera focuses on men at a gambling table, but it's really Keach's reaction to his surroundings that is the focus. For Zack Morris, the people around him may freeze in animated poses, but the focus is on Zack's monologue. The difference between the Mannequin Challenge that is happening now is that no one talks, and the focus is on the frozen people, and the takeaway is on the action they are taking.
Just like with everything, the Collective Thought is at play here, and while the concept is not new, the application is unique to now.
How You Can Do A Mannequin Challenge!
Yes, you! You may think your brand is boring, or uneventful, or not fit for a Mannequin Challenge, but start thinking of what happens around you, and a scene will unfold that will be captivating!
Of course you want to do this in order to get into the wildly popular hashtag #mannequinchallenge, but you also want to show what your brand is all about.
What Makes a Great Mannequin Challenge?
Let's dissect this for a moment. There seem to be a few rules, but being a business owner, you'll of course want to break or bend them:
- Many People: The most interesting videos seem to have 5-20 people in them. If you don't have that many people in your office or shop, invite friends in for a Mannequin Challenge Day. Offer them wine. They will come.
- Music: Right now, the "official" song that plays in the background is “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd. But...being a creative person, you may want to play your own jingle selection here, like Garuda Indonesia did on their Boeing 777-300ER plane.
- Grand Poses and Plain Poses: What would people do naturally in your space? What do you wish they would do? This can include:
- Buying something
- Looking at something, considering it
- Dropping something!
- Making a phone call
- Hanging a picture
- Moving a child away from your work space
- Answering the door
- Talking to a co-worker in the hall
- Serving someone their meal at a table
You can see the list is endless, and very fun to start thinking about. The pose a person takes could be indicative of their personality, and reflect what they love doing.
Examples of Mannequin Challenges
This is some of the funnest homework ever. There have been many types of videos, so take a look to get some ideas. Definitely hit up the #mannequinchallenge hashtag in Instagram to get loads of ideas.
50Roots.com in the Pop-Up Shop in A Little Beacon Blog's Space
Of course you have to watch the one in my office first :) Christa, co-owner of the shop is in the frame handing a shopping bag to a customer. The rest of the people are customers, families and friends.
Garuda Indonesia On The Plane
This video has a lot of poses in action, and really makes you feel like you A. want to fly, and B. want to fly first class. I'm a road-tripper, so am rarely on planes, but this makes flying look hassle-free. Plus, they went rougue with their music choice, and picked something closer to Enya:
ALS' "The Never Ending Mannequin Challenge"
AdWeek dubbed this Mannequin Challenge as the first branded challenge that was produced by an organization for promotional purposes. The video packs a powerful punch at the end, making it one that takes advantage of a light-hearted trend that many are involved with, and showing the definition of ALS in one frame. Pretty amazing.
Rae Sremmurd Dos His Own Mannequin Challenge
Rae Sremmurd made a Mannequin Challenge video to his song "Black Beetles", and of course broke a rule - the performers went into motion after a few moments of themselves - and their audience - being frozen. Pretty neat.
So...What kind of Mannequin Challenge are you going to create?