#SocialSeen: A £2m Return On Zero Investment for CANCER RESEARCH

When we saw barefaced selfies of friends, colleagues, strangers popping up on Facebook, Instagram et al, we did question (and struggle to see) the rationale. How can taking a picture of yourself without make-up be relevant to cancer research? And why should it just be women??

But then, we were nominated. So what do you do? Say no??

The social team, the wider Propaganda team and I did our selfies, made our donations, urged other people to text BEAT to 70007 and complimented each other’s mug shots, warts and all (and actually discussed how exposed and shy we felt), but we could start to see how this small gesture was a tiny something we could do to help combat this awful disease. But then the cynical tweets and negative articles started to appear…

I read a scathing article in The Guardian, of all places, over the weekend, about the #nomakeupselfie…. ‘This idea didn’t even come from the charity’. ‘Taking a picture of yourself with no make-up is not brave’. ‘So, does this suggest lipstick and mascara is all that’s important to women?’ ‘What about men?’ ‘It’s narcissistic’ etc etc.

But, you can flip this and look at the positives. OK, publishing a no-make-up selfie is not particularly heroic compared to the bravery cancer sufferers display every day, but it’s a gesture (and a pretty significant one for some more than others). And if this small act generates a donation, what’s the problem?

If it’s not come from the charity, so what?! It is simply magnificent how one ‘narcissistic’ act can take off internationally to create a buzz that, love it or hate it, has got people talking & donating.

And one last, very important, point. Do you know how much money charities spend on ‘charitable activities’; AKA marketing and advertising? According to this article in the Daily Telegraph, Cancer Research spends 70% on its £493m annual income on charitable activities, so you cannot knock an organic social media campaign that still generated over 2m quid for Cancer Research – can you?

As long as the barefaced selfies continue to dominate our feeds, conversation and news reports, the brilliant Cancer Research will be benefiting. Whether you love it or hate it (and whether or not, all those ‘barefaced’ beauties are truly make-up free – but that’s another conversation…), we’ll be following this organic campaign with much interest, continuing to applaud participants and rooting for the charity to make even more millions from it.

Here are a few #NoMakeUpSelfies from the Propaganda team.