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Vanity charity and the greatest risk for social media marketing: being inauthentic

Vanity charity and the greatest risk for social media marketing: being inauthentic
Wednesday 2 April, 2014

The inevitable backlash against the #nomakeupselfie has begun.

I say inevitable, because every single social media movement/campaign will have its fans and also its detractors*.

That’s just part of the “risk” of social media campaigns. (That's me on the left, by the way #heapsofmakeupselfie).

However well-intentioned, (and it definitely was by the vast majority and the good and kind and decent people who participated in #nomakeupselfie on my social feed) the reason it fell flat for me is because it was inauthentic.

No make up is brave? That’s like saying an expensive designer couch is a “brave choice”. Getting up every day and carrying on through horrendous treatment and pain to have a chance at continuing to live? That sounds more like bravery to me.

No one could argue that raising money and awareness of cancer is a bad thing. Nevertheless, the crux of my criticism (quite apart from the issues I have with it as a feminist) is that it is a celebration of narcissism, and an inappropriate comparison of the frivolous (make up) and the serious (erm, life and death). 

While this was a grass-roots campaign, so no brand was tied to it per se, it still serves as a lesson to any brand wanting to play in this space. You need to ask of yourself, and of your brands, some searching questions to ensure you’re expressing yourself authentically, or your communication will seem clumsy at best, callous at worst.

* As a side note, Access PR went on an excursion recently to hear “pop” philosopher Alain de Botton speak about his new book – he made the excellent point that you should never read the comments. Just don’t do it.

Danielle Veldre

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