Why The Great Selfie Challenge By MTV Is Not Just Another Selfie-Riding Digital Wave

Youth brand MTV's The Great Selfie Challenge seems to have found the right mix of adventure and selfie madness for the channel's new digital show


It wasn’t too long ago that selfies became the ‘in’ thing on social networks. Social feeds saw a phenomenal rise in self-clicked pictures often sporting weird expressions. In 2013, ‘Selfie’ was declared the ‘Word of the year’ by Oxford Dictionaries and the world looked on at this fancy next big tool to capture individual expression.

While we thought the fad would fade away, like all shiny new things, the ‘selfie’ phenomenon refused to die down; it infested every inch of social timelines. Everyone from the stylish fashionistas to our then Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi expressed their love for the new rage that had caught our fancy. From the duck face pouts to the highly obnoxious posterior selfies, rightly named ‘Belfies’, people were bombarded with a variety of selfies while scrolling through their social feeds.

Brands dived right in; the opportunity to make a consumer connect via this new language of ‘selfies’ was too expensive to lose out on. Thus, 2014 saw a bout of selfie-driven campaigns by brands ranging from the ecommerce industry to the furniture seller. An ecommerce giant rewarded those fans who posted shelfies or a selfie with their bookshelves. A furniture brand invited people to send selfies with their favourite furniture, and christened it ‘felfie’. A fitness brand invited ‘workout selfies’ from the fit consumer, while beauty brands encouraged women to go all out and be selfie ready any time of the day. Read also: “2014: The Year Of The Selfie Campaigns In India”.

The Great Selfie Challenge

There were and are different types of selfie contests being launched all the time, but somehow they all look the same. So much so that selfie-driven campaigns are often scorned at and generally considered uninteresting and ‘same old’. But, youth brand, MTV is hoping to change this. MTV has launched ‘The Great Selfie Challenge’ for the selfie obsessed millennials. The idea is a digital show where five selfie enthusiasts will get the opportunity to travel across India completing challenges in the quest for the most epic selfie ever!

The hunt is on for the selfie buffs who are willing to travel thousands of kilometers, go to logic defying lengths, do some of the craziest stuff imaginable - from cliff diving to going underwater to hanging out with ghosts - all in the bid to get that perfect selfie. All one needs to do in order to be on this show is to complete three selfie challenges, from which the five best entries will be selected for the show.

The Great Selfie Challenge is hosted on a dedicated page at the MTV India site, where one can register and complete the three challenges. Epic selfies posted by others is also displayed on the site. On the digital promotions, the brand has released a few videos talking about the selfie challenge. Here’s the promo video


In this one VJ Zed talks about the 5 types of people who should not be on the challenge:


Not just another ‘selfie’ campaign

Selfies do define the present generation and there’s no escaping it. While Modi’s selfie with his mother popularized the selfie phenomenon  with the oldies, it is almost an acceptable social behaviour among all age groups now. A human need to portray themselves the way they would like the world to see them, the way they would want their social connections to perceive them, the way they would prefer to express themselves, their individuality or their sense of adventure. Selfies have become such a craze that some really adventurous folks in the hunt for that epic selfie atop the tallest building, have lost their lives.

Brands riding the selfie wave is understandable in that sense. But, selfie campaigns are a done thing - send in your selfie with your favourite _____ and there you have a selfie campaign running!

However, MTV The Great Selfie Challenge seems to have found the right formula for an adventure-filled show, that is powered by selfies. Which selfie-obssessed youngster wouldn’t want to be seen taking on tough challenges atop a cliff or underwater, all for the sake of an epic selfie? The digital show has the potential to connect with the target audience while also maintaining the brand voice, that of adventure and the spirit of youth. Surely a cool concept for a youth entertainment brand.