In April this year, influencer Chessie King posted a short video to Instagram Stories. Standing in her underwear under the headline, ‘What do you think?’, she said: “This is my body. It has taken me years to embrace it. But I’m finally proud to show it off.”
King is known for promoting body confidence on Instagram. She has used her account to highlight the digital trickery behind seemingly perfect selfies and encourages followers to embrace their “lumps, bumps and jiggles”. Her video was popular – it had 150,000 views within 12 hours – but it also prompted negative comments from people criticising her appearance.
The following day, King shared some of these comments by adding to her Story. Each time she posted, her image had been digitally altered in response to a particular insult. Her legs became thinner, then her arms and her waist until she had changed almost beyond recognition, and still the criticisms kept on coming. The Story ended with the message #trollingisugly and a link to the Cybersmile Foundation’s website.
The video was created to call out body shaming and encourage positivity. (Instagram has Community Guidelines and in-app reporting tools in place to protect its users – and has introduced machine learning tools which automatically filter out abusive comments as well as the ability to turn off comments on posts – but like any online platform with a large global community, it has faced issues with people posting negative messages.)
adam&eveDDB worked with King to create the video. The agency used Stories as this allowed them to use a mix of stills, videos and text and ensure people would see content as it unfolded in real time.
“We realised that we needed to be a bit more immediate and a bit more visual, and Stories really lends itself to that,” explains Richard Brim, Creative Director on the project and Chief Creative Officer at adam&eveDDB.
After coming up with a rough concept, the agency had to find a suitable influencer. King was chosen for her enthusiasm, focus on self-confidence and the fact that she was willing to spend almost 24 hours with the agency responding to comments. “She really got why we were doing this and was very open to whatever we needed to do to make it a powerful campaign,” explains Brim.
“What we generally find with influencers is that they will give you a set amount of time and do a set amount of things, but King was open to co-creating all of the work with us. There was no limit to her involvement,” adds Miranda Hipwell, Managing Partner at adam&eveDDB.
The campaign’s success relied on forward planning and preparation. King gave adam&eveDDB an idea of the kind of comments they might have to respond to and supplied pictures and videos so retouchers could practise manipulating her image. Cybersmile also advised King on what to say in her initial video, providing guidance on the kind of content that would provoke a response.
The day after King posted her video, adam&eveDDB assembled producers, retouchers, creatives and a social media team to co-respond to comments with her as they came in. The biggest challenge was creating posts at speed, says Hipwell, but having King in the same room throughout the process made this easier.
The campaign succeeded in getting people talking: over 300,000 people viewed King’s Story on Instagram, with thousands posting messages of support. Cybersmile saw a 70% increase in engagement on its Facebook page and received an influx of messages from people who had viewed King’s video. It has also been used in schools to teach children about trolling.
Lise Pinnell, Creative Agency Partner at Facebook, says the campaign’s effectiveness lies partly in the fact that it plays to Instagram Stories’ strengths. “Whenever we’re working with agencies, I always ask teams to think, ‘what is it that Facebook and Instagram can do for this campaign that nothing else can do?’ and I think this campaign is a powerful example of how Instagram can help you tell a story,” she explains.
“With Instagram Stories, you will see the beginning, the middle and the end [of a story] in the order that it was intended, so you as the creator are controlling the experience. I don’t think you could have told that story in the same way in Feed or on YouTube. It wouldn’t have had the same impact,” she adds.
She also praises the campaign’s use of emoji and stickers: “We always say to people, try and use the language of the platforms and think about how people are consuming [them]. GIFs and stickers aren’t always relevant, but they can help bring a story to life.”
Tim Styles, Creative Strategist at Facebook Creative Shop says: “Making [the campaign] time sensitive made it feel genuine, allowing the innocent origins of this story to play out with the help of the very trolls it was targeting. This savvy use of media enabled enormous impact and ultimately drove home a bigger message.
Great Work is part of Inspire, a partnership between Creative Review, Facebook and Instagram to showcase outstanding creative work across both platforms.
Facebook and Instagram’s Creative Hub was launched to help the creative communities understand mobile marketing. The online tool allows creatives to experiment with content formats – from Instagram video to Facebook Canvas – and produce mock-ups to share with clients and stakeholders. It also showcases successful campaigns created for mobile. Try out the mock up tool at facebook.com/ads/creativehub and see the inspiration gallery at facebook.com/ads/creativehub/gallery. For more info on Instagram’s community guidelines and how it protects users, see instagram-together.com