The #MannequinChallenge…FREEZE!

The #MannequinChallenge.

Seriously? The #MannequinChallenge…what’s next, “Here comes Andy?”

I got the idea behind the #IceBucketChallenge. Raise awareness, bring attention to a brutal disease, raise money doing something that was fun. You can’t argue with the success it had, but…

As time passed, it became less about the raising money and awareness and more about the fun of the challenge, it became a ‘me too’ entertainment video.

The #RunningManChallenge was fun for college and high school students. Have some fun for no reason at all.

New Zealand Police Recruitment  took it to law enforcement by making it a recruitment challenge. Department after department did the challenge with the vast majority forgetting the challenge was about recruiting.

“Me Too”

Soon enough, police agencies seemed to just jump on the “me too” bandwagon and started doing mass productions to show that they were hip, with the times, staying up on pop-culture trends. Even going as far as to say, “We are doing this to bring attention to ‘XYZ’.”, but then only mentioning themselves with a “Like Us / Follow Us” call to action.

You want to know what was a great recruitment drive?

Retired Dallas Police Chief David Brown telling protestors if they don’t like the way things are, apply for a job with his department. No entertainment, no BS, just a lay it on the line leadership moment.

Now We Have The #MannequinChallenge.

The premise…record an elaborate video showing everyone frozen like a mannequin.

It’s highly entertaining watching your favorite NFL or NBA team, not to be outdone by ESPN.  But then again, it’s highly entertaining because they are entertainers…paid to entertain.

College students, high school students and kids are doing some amazing things with it.

Back to the adults. As Chris Brogan said, “Cue marketing departments everywhere doing their own “witty” versions of this.” I’ll add, cue the police departments showing how hip they are following suit.

Don’t Do It

But please, JUST DON’T DO IT. Especially if you don’t actually have a purpose, a strategy, a real business case for doing it.

I mean, what’s the purpose? What point will you be making? In what way will this help your community? What quality of life issue are you addressing?

Are you going for your piece of “viral pie”?
Trying to bring attention to your page for more likes?

Great…you’ve got likes. What will you do with those likes? Is your community suddenly going to turn around and think,

“Wow, I have so much more trust, respect and appreciation for what our police do now that I’ve seen them mannequin..they’re just so much more human now.”

Not likely.

There will be some people in your community that will look at the video as a complete waste of time and resources. They may see what you are doing as complete lack of appreciation for their tax dollars at work. And they’ll probably be right.

Sure you can argue that your PIO or Media Relations Unit members are part of a dedicated staff and that this type of thing is part of their job. But that reasoning just doesn’t hold a lot of weight when it’s something that is simply just for entertainment value.

When was the last time you put a lot of effort into a piece of content that actually held high “end-user” value? And no, a wanted poster doesn’t qualify and the #MannequinChallenge is no where close to having any end-user value.

I talk daily with police agencies and the vast majority tell me they started using social media because, “Everyone else is.”

That’s not a reason to be doing social media and neither is jumping on a challenge band wagon.

Leaders lead.



About Tim Burrows

Tim Burrows was a sworn police officer for 25 years with experience in front line operations, primary response, traffic, detective operations and supervision. He has training in a broad spectrum of policing responsibilities including, IMS, Emergency Management, computer assisted technology investigations, leadership, community policing and crisis communications. Tim is available to assist you with your social media program and communication. Click here to contact him
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