Few seconds and they’re gone. Forever.

How WWF #LastSelfie snapchat campaign made me sign up to Digital Marketing Nanodegree and think seriously about being an activist

I used to consider myself sensitive. I was one of those girls who cried over the fate of stray dogs in a shelter and turned their eyes when the TV showed drastic pictures of wars in distant lands. Always suspended between willingness to help and avoid confrontation with the world of harm and suffering. I have centered both strategies. The innate need for altruism I have reconciled with the focus on avoiding. And my days passed on avoidance of: violence, eating meat, buying non fair trade coffee or t-shirts from Bangladesh.

One day, quite accidentally I came across the article listing best campaigns on social media channels. One of them especially caught my attention. It was #LastSelfie. Designed for WWF, launched in 2015, it went viral within one day. Considering that they used almost exclusively an organic promotion, we can talk about an impressive success.

The concept was quite simple. Followers of WWF on Snapchat get a photo of an endangered animal with a message declaring it could be the last time the user sees it. Every image also contained call to action message asking either for a donation via sms or social share of a screenshot for raising awareness.

Beautiful portraits of animals in danger of extinction impressed me with its simple yet powerful statement of disappearing in an extremely short time, in which every snap is supposed to vanish. But this time not only the picture goes away forever.. The success of the campaign is far beyond simply spreading awareness. The idea of animals taking selfies, just like people do, the unexpected comparison of two species and putting them in a common context of popular social media channel — this is really moving, melancholic and for sure — memorable for the audience. For me #LastSelfie also turned out to be something more than reminder to pay donation. It made me think differently about activism and using social media for that.

Honestly, until that moment I’ve never expected to squeeze anything precious from Snapchat. For me it used to be an awkward medium for teenagers to share low quality selfies with strange filters on them. Since then neither Snapchat nor any other social media channel is the same as it seemed to me. I am focused on taking action because in social media I’ve noticed a powerful extension to my previous avoidance-oriented efforts.

I’ve signed up to Udacity Digital Marketing Nanodegree Program to learn how to use the power of these channels for social causes with the aim of joining polish animal welfare organisations as a digital marketer. Udacity offer is market-oriented and gives possibility of running real marketing projects, so I am happy to gain first hand experience.

Eventually the campaign about very distant animals brought me closer to digital marketing, which could be a real opportunity to act for others.