Dakarai Turner

Behind the Meme: The Mannequin Challenge

November 15, 2016

The month of November kicked off in a interesting way to say the least, with the creation and explosion of the Mannequin Challenge. What started as a Twitter video recorded in a Colony High School classroom, later became used at concerts, in NFL locker rooms, talk shows, and even the White House. For those of you that haven’t seen the video that started it all, check it out below.

To give you an idea of just how big the challenge has been so far, it’s reached over 4 million mentions on Twitter since November 1st, and reached over 16 million mentions on Instagram. Now with almost every meme, there is usually someone that benefits from it the most. In this case it’s the rap duo by the name of ‘Rae Sremmurd‘. The rappers have managed to attach their hit song “Black Beatles” to the viral trend, by doing the challenge with their fans on stage to the song. This basically sparked a boatload of challenges that came afterwards. Although the first video didn’t even include any sound, the duo hopped on the trend quick enough to tie their song with the challenge.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! #mannequinchallenge #GiantsPride

A post shared by New York Giants (@nygiants) on

So what has made the Mannequin Challenge resonate so well with just about everyone? Here are 3 reasons: It’s easy, it’s a group activity, and everyone’s favourite part..it’s brandless.

Easy

After participating in two separate Mannequin Challenges myself, it’s not as easy as it looks to stand still for so long. However, the last thing I would say is that this challenge is difficult. All you need to do is strike a pose with your friends while someone records it, and boom! You’ve joined the trend.

 

Group Activity

Everything is funner when you’re doing it with your friends. The larger the group, the better the video. This trend started with a classroom, and now has sports teams, restaurants, and even regular work offices jumping in to give it a shot. When you can do things as a team it makes it that much more enjoyable and also shareable. Just think about if the original person had one person standing still. Would it have caught any steam? Check out my work office doing the challenge below.

Brandless

As I mentioned in my article about the Harambe meme, there is something special about a meme in which you can’t easily trace the origin. A lot of people don’t really know why this challenge started or even why Rae Sremmurd’s song is playing in the background. But one thing I could say is that if it was the #PepsiMannequinChallenge, it wouldn’t be what it is today. Maybe I’m wrong with that thought, but I truly believe that the authentic and simple nature of the Mannequin Challenge is the reason why it’s taken over the internet.

What do you think of this final thought. If a brand had started and was heavily associated with the Mannequin Challenge, would the appeal to be a part of it still be there?

 

Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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