Move over, Ice Bucket Challenge. Step aside Harlem Shake. The internet has discovered the mannequin challenge.
As its name suggests, the mannequin challenge entails standing very still. These are videos of groups of people frozen in place — like mannequins! — often in elaborate poses, as a camera wanders through the scene and zooms in on the details.
It started when a group of students at Edward H. White High School in Jacksonville posed on the top of a table two weeks ago but has since spread to the farthest reaches of the internet.
The hashtag #MannequinChallenge has been used more than 628,000 times over the past one week, according to data from Brandwatch. Everyone from athletes like Stephen Curry and the New York Giants and brands like Target and Denny’s Diner have posted their own versions of the video.
“The reason this challenge has become so socially popular is the extended video aspect — video has long been a favorite of online audiences, and it always boosts engagement,” said Kellan Terry, senior data analyst at Brandwatch. “The #MannequinChallenge takes social’s love of video and allows large groups of people to create elaborate scenes.”
The phenomenon reached peak frenzy on Tuesday, with over 406,000 mentions, and even saw Hillary Clinton glomming on, her own #MannequinChallenge attempt netting over 62,000 mentions.
Not wanting to be left out of a cultural mini-moment, ad agencies have been doing their own mannequin challenge videos. Here are a few of our favorites.
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The Philadelphia-based shop posted its own 30-second version of the challenge on Sunday, when it noticed the trend was picking up. “We always like the challenge of making stuff real-time, so before it headed to the great internet meme burial ground, we jumped in,” said Steve O’Connell, partner and executive creative director at RTO+P.
The agency’s video starts in its elevator and progresses onto show its employees stuck in a range of freezes, from two staffers high-fiving to playing foosball. It has been viewed nearly 5,000 times.
Tribal Worldwide’s video is set to the tune of the song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd, which has become the unofficial anthem of the meme. It pans over its staffers holding a variety of poses and is filled with Easter eggs alluding to its clients, such as 3 Musketeers chocolate bars.
“We live on a world where we have to have a pulse of what’s going on and flick at things that are relevant,” said executive creative director Kinney Edwards. “We just wanted to have fun — it’s important for our own office culture to celebrate how fun, creative and weird we are.”
— TribalWorldwide (@TribalWorldwide) November 9, 2016
With so much division and tension in the air, the agency really wanted to do something that could connect with its people and bring everyone together, said Stevie Dove, director of North America social lead of SapientNitro Social Studio. Around 30 people participated in the first #MannequinChallenge in its Miami office on Tuesday that was shared on Instagram Wednesday, and the agency has another one planned for its New York City office later this week.
The Dallas-based shop jumped on the trend on Tuesday too, seeing it as an opportunity to show current and potential clients that it keeps up with the times.
“Even if it’s a completely random internet trend, we’re able to quickly pull something together and still give it a bit of our creative spin,” said Claire Higgins, brand strategist at Greenlight. “It also gave us an opportunity to show off our team and new office that we can’t get enough of.”
BBDO Atlanta jumped on the bandwagon with its own video on Election Day, capturing the nerves and anxiety of its own staffers. About 30 people volunteered to participate, and the whole process, from brainstorming to finishing the video with sound, took only a couple of hours. The video was shared on Facebook and Instagram.
“I am a huge supporter of makers, and being a part of timely, cultural moments,” said Robin Fitzgerald, CCO of BBDO Atlanta. “When the idea was pitched to me, I encouraged them to get it out as fast possible.”