If you have access to the internet, a TV screen or a newspaper, you will have heard about it: the world record-breaking egg on Instagram.
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The plan was simple – receive more likes than Kylie Jenner’s photo of her daughter Stormi holding her thumb (which had 18 million). It beat that in a week, and it currently sits on more than 50 million likes, and rising.
The same experiment is now being tried on Twitter – where it’s not having as much luck. The tweet in question has reached 1 million retweets, which is a little shy of the most retweeted tweet by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. He managed to reach 5.1 million retweets, which may be due to the fact he promised to share £725,000 between 100 randomly selected people who retweeted it.
However, what does that say about humans, social media users, and marketers, if the most liked ‘thing’ on the internet is an egg?
Humans like to be part of something. We feel safe in numbers, and we’re programmed to act in certain ways, sometimes, when we’re in a group.
The herd mentality is defined as “how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviours on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis”, and this is the perfect example. An egg is trying to be the most liked photo on Instagram – it costs nothing, and it, essentially, has no point – so, of course, it worked. It’s a chance to laugh at a Jenner / Kardashian (we’ll get to that later), but it also brings pointless joy in a time where they may not be enough of that. Also, imagine if you were the only person who hadn’t liked the egg – you’d truly have yolk on your face (I’m sorry).
The herd mentality is also why the infamous Fyre Festival was so popular (yet not a success). People saw influencers (such as Kylie Jenner) being part of something new, and they wanted to join. Some spent thousands of dollars without knowing exactly what they were getting in return, and it turned out that they weren’t getting much in return after all.
It’s also why children nowadays may end up having their mistakes cemented into internet history. One video of you messing up could go viral, and that’s what you’re known for, as long as you’re alive.
On the flip-side, the herd mentality can work positively and make those special / funny / emotive shared moments even bigger – for example, to laugh at a very leaky tap, or celebrate a young boy with autism who has a little brother for his biggest fan.
It’s the power of social media – it can make you a star, or a villain, fast.
Now that social media is as big as it can be, celebrities can receive attention for anything they do – be it buying a new coat in a shop, or releasing a best-selling book. They know that their actions can get them the words they need to be sell more products, and thus make more money – so sometimes they act up to get what they need.
Piers Morgan is a perfect example – he’ll ridicule a product, and it’ll end up being talked about. The Greggs vegan sausage roll recently is a perfect show of how it works – he made such a fuss about it that it sold out, and was top of the trends on Twitter for days on end. It’s the effect he has – say something controversial, and people will talk.
(However, it did turn out that the same PR company had worked on campaigns for both parties, so make of that what you will…)
Similarly, the Jenners / Kardashians can say almost anything, and have an instant effect. Kylie Jenner herself wiped $1.3bn off Snapchat’s value with one tweet last year:
sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018
Do you remember when Kim Kardashian famously “broke the internet” by appearing on the front of Paper magazine? It’s the power of their family, and what they are capable of.
However, alongside that, for some reason, the Kardashian / Jenner klan are hated more than any other. They are ridiculed for their every move, and judged for the money they make. Realistically, I think they may be scape goats for parts of our lives which we are guilty for ourselves, but no-one will admit it. It’s another reason why the egg was so famous – people wanted to knock a Jenner / Kardashian Instagram photo off the top spot, and it happened. They wanted to chalk up another win against their family.
Linking back to the Fyre Festival debacle – people took great joy in seeing influencers and people who had spent lots of money being put into an uncomfortable situation:
Struggling to have sympathy for any of the attendees in this Fyre documentary. It’s all ‘influencers’ and rich boys getting what they deserved. #fyrenetflix
— Adam Prior (@adamprior) 18 January 2019
Why? It might be jealously, it might be genuine hatred – but it seems strange to judge on someone because they have more followers than you.
Celebrities can be made in a minute, or ripped down in a minute. It’s all part of the culture, and social media powers that even more.
Is marketing dead?
Realistically, no. An egg may be the most liked thing on the internet, but that means that anything truly is possible. Brands should think outside the shell (box), and hatch new plans left, right and centre. The opportunities are endless. Don’t be a chicken.
At the end of the day, millions of people liked a photo of an egg because it was pointless fun, which made us feel part of a group, and allowed us to knock a Kardashian off the top spot at something.
The Kardashians will still remain resented (for some reason), influencers will still remain treated differently (for some reason), and a different food may become the most liked photo on the internet (for some reason).
Although, it is just an egg, and I might be overthinking it, but at least it made me think, and that’s the real point of marketing, isn’t it?