Cancer charity benefits as #nomakeupselfie goes viral

A social network campaign has turned into a viral marketing phenomenon, with a UK cancer charity benefitting to the tune of £2 million ($3.29 million).

Women are urging their friends and relatives to take a ‘selfie’ photo of themselves with no make up, as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with cancer sufferers.

The social media craze or ‘meme’ has spread across sites such as Twitter with the #nomakeupselfie hashtag within just a few days.

What makes the campaign even more remarkable is that it emerged spontaneously, with no-one setting out with a plan to raise money or awareness this way – including Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

Only when the trend gained momentum around cancer awareness did CRUK set up a text number to make donating easier. The charity has now clocked up £2 million in donations, with no-one quite sure where it will end.

The trend has largely centred on the UK but charities around the world are said to be benefitting from the craze.

Positive and negative reactions

Despite the feel good factor felt by those taking part, many others have reacted against the phenomenon, with criticism frequently centering around the narcissistic nature of selfies.

Online commentators in the charity field have also been quick to analyse the trend, such as this post by Charity Chap.

The meme continues to change and mutate, with other cancer charities now engaging with the craze, with supporters vying to produce the most original and humorous twists to the theme.

Not to be left out of the largely female make up theme, Prostate Cancer UK has latched on to a male response – #manupandmakeup – which involves men applying make-up for often comical selfies.


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