The internet can be a scary place. Especially if you’ve surfed the web or social media recently. But for all of its dangers, it can also bring people together, increase conversation, and provide laugh out loud moments.
On Wednesday, my social timelines became full of images of SEC Football Coaches as women. The thread was introduced Tuesday afternoon, and by Wednesday, it was spreading like a wildfire. Then as the hours passed, I noticed the hashtag #FaceAppchallenge was trending. The photos of the coaches were hilarious, and though I’m not sure how or why it caught on again (aging images were the trend last July), thousands got involved sharing, and engaging with them. My personal favorite was Mike Leach.
When these type of unexpected things happen, it’s vital for brands to dive in immediately with their own spin. It shows that you’re aware of what people are into. Waiting 48-72 hours to get involved is no different than showing up to a party 2-3 days after it’s over. Creativity and speed are essential for capitalizing on viral moments, and as I saw this trend growing, I was stunned that more sports media brands didn’t turn their digital teams loose to have a field day with it. It isn’t like the sports world has been overflowing with content lately.
Kudos to Altitude Sports Radio in Denver, and 104.5 The Zone in Nashville who dove in early. Nice job as well by Sports Talk 790 in Houston, Outkick The Coverage, and Kentucky Sports Radio who posted and shared articles about the SEC coaches viral sensation. Props as well to Troy Hughes of 105.3 The Fan and ESPN’s Stanford Steve, who got into the act last night, and immediately saw a strong response to their posts.
Taking something like this, and localizing it is pretty easy. All it takes is opening an app, uploading an image, going thru the app’s options to decide what you want to create, and then clicking save. It’s literally finished within minutes, maybe even seconds. Stations could’ve jumped on this by creating images of local players, coaches, celebrities, the station’s hosts or anything else with a connection to the brand or market. Laughter is contagious, and anytime you can make an audience feel something good, while giving them incentive to engage with and share your content, that’s an opportunity you can’t pass up.
I knew this social trend would likely fade fast, so I pulled some photos of sports media personalities, and started messing with the app. Just seeing the instant change in each person’s appearance thru FaceApp cracked me up, and I figured others might enjoy it too. Hosts who don’t take themselves too seriously should appreciate it as well, because it’s both a content opportunity, and a chance to show the audience that you can laugh along with them, even if sometimes it’s at your own expense.
Below you’ll find the photos that were created and shared on social media. My intent wasn’t to change the world, reinvent the wheel, or make anyone look or feel bad. It was simply to recognize a popular trend, find a creative way to enter the conversation, and reward people in the process with a few laughs while giving them reasons to engage and share the content. Given what we’ve all dealt with over the past few months, a little bit of fun should be a welcomed distraction.