The Photobomb vs The Selfie – How to use The Photobomb for Your Brand Marketing

Timing is Everything

In these digital times information moves fast, trends move faster, and boredom is a online marketer’s biggest enemy. As the Selfie trend becomes old news, the Photobomb is holding strong. Why? And how can you use them for brand marketing?

In my 10+ years of online / offline marketing, I have continually found myself using TV as a historical gage for social marketing. Until social media and gaming came along, TV was the medium that created the other “family” that viewers craved. For my analogies between online marketing and TV, I pull from TV’s history as a whole, and rarely focus on the use of TV advertising. The psychology behind proper online marketing is much more similar, I find, to how audiences relate to their favorite TV shows rather than the advertising that is pushed at them; TV shows draw a “following” by appealing to what the viewer wants and likes not what the brand expects and wants them to like. Favorite TV shows stick with us for a lifetime, they define a time period in our lives – Why? – Because they became the extended friends and family that may or may not have been there for us. We don’t remember each episode but we always remember how the show made us feel – liked, accepted, understood, scared, excited, justified, intrigued – but most of all, our favorite TV shows made us feel like we were part of something we could always count on. Like they said on Batman, “SEE YA NEXT WEEK SAME BAT TIME SAME BAT STATION!” – and there we were…

[TIP: Consider programming your Tweeting / Facebook / YouTube / social etc. strategy to a schedule: same topic, same day, same time]

Here’s the thing about the Photobomb vs the Selfie – The Photobomb is the equivalent of America’s Funniest Home Videos, one of the longest running primetime entertainment shows on television. The Selfie is more like that show that didn’t make it past the pilot episode because the creators forgot they had an audience, not a mirror in front of them. In other words, The Photobomb, like AFV, keeps us coming back to take another look because of its twist on what is expected and the satisfaction of recognizing it; Where the Selfie (after one year of constant bombardment by everyone and anyone) is COMPLETELY PREDICTABLE.

This may seem to contradict my initial recommendation of keeping social to a predictable schedule but it is perhaps the truth about Americans – they love controlled observations of the bizarre and weird. This goes way back to the first days of the traveling circus and the circus freaks’ sideshow – Americans were not, and have never been, comfortable walking down the street or living next door to an oddity, but they are more than willing to PAY to STARE at it within a controlled environment.

The Photobomb (and AFV) works much on the same principle. Here are some descriptions of The Photobomb and ways your Brand can incorporate them into it’s marketing:

The ‘Breaking Vanity’

Selfies are vanity; Photobombs are freedom from their insanity. In other words, breaking up someone’s “self love obsession” is offering much needed comic RELIEF in the over-populated world of the insanely vain SELIFIES.

Kim Kardashian

BRANDING…”Win a trip to Hollywood to see one of the World’s Natural Wonders”

The ‘Where’s Waldo’

We all like games as proven by the billion dollar gaming industry. And when a Selfie is taken, and something unexpected and hard to find appears, then the real game begins. Most of us get tired of seeing the same poser over and over, we would rather spend time seeking out the surprise…winning the prize and praise of our intellectual brain.

Where's Waldo

BRANDING…”Find his friend and Uber will pick you for FREE!”

The ‘Classic Crasher’

What can I say, Photobombing is FUN. It seems to bring out the kid in all of us and anything that can make the most conservative or untouchable societal icons break character, will be seen as downright magical in the eyes of the public. Why? Because suddenly, we realize, they are relatable, they like to laugh and have fun just like us. And anything magical that seems attainable…is ALWAYS good marketing – just ask Disney.

Classic Crasher

BRANDING…”Welcome Home. – VisitBritain.com”

The ‘Creative Catch’

There is something absolutely mesmerizing about an accident that becomes beautiful – our mind wants to see it again and again. Im not sure who came up with the first transposition of a creature caught on a human body but now none of us can get enough. I am surprised that Aquariums or Zoos have not already gone down this path for promotions.

Creative Catch

BRANDING…”’The City Aquarium’ where you become one with the sea.”

The ‘History is Made’

When words just cant describe how amazing it was, a photo will. UFO’s, if you think about it, are the original Photobombers. Images of UFO’s go back as far as drawings on cave walls. There is just something about catching proof of what else is going on in the world, that we may have seen, but others need visual PROOF of it to be convinced.

History Made

BRANDING …”See things on ‘The Classic Cruise Ship’ that you will miss if you stay on land.”

The ‘Timing-is-Everything’

When you do catch that completely unexpected Selfie moment, you have basically struck photo gold. How many times have we seen the photo below, and never cease to come up with another way to apply the comedic scenario.

Timing Babies

BRANDING …the possibilities are endless

The ‘Reality Show’

Life happens but usually it happens so fast our real-time brain will blank it out. Photos freeze a moment in time – Photobombs make the unseen seen. There are multiple ways to use this to promote your Brand because nothing says “YOU NEED THIS” quite like reality that was once unseen…

Reality Show

BRANDING …”When life throws you a hardball, call ‘The Lawyer’”

The ‘Creeper’

[NOTE – NOT RECOMMENDED FOR MARKETING YOUR BRAND unless you are a porn site…or Miley Cyrus…]

While sex does sell…there are just some “visuals” that a Brand NEVER wants connected to its image, no matter how edgy your Brand may be…The Creeper Photobomb is one of them…

The Creeper

BRANDING …NO, NO…NEVER appropriate for any Brand.

Then there is always the possibility of…

The ‘Battle-of-the-Brands’

One power Brand Photobombing the other…

GEICO PhotoBomb on AFLAC

BRANDING … AFLAC / GEICO… call me.