National Geographic taps into Instagram culture with new ads

We live at a time when anyone can take a photo and distribute it around the web for others to see, so why should any business marketing campaign or custom made signs be treated as special?

The obvious answer is that professionally made signage is still worlds away from the amateur photos taken by mobile users, even those that have access to good equipment. But that doesn't mean that a campaign can't take advantage of this fad or poke fun at it.

That seems to have been part of the latest National Geographic campaign employing "animal selfies." A gorilla, a koala, a kangaroo and other animals are shown standing in front of mirrors and holding up cell phones.

In an interview with Design Boom, the campaign's art director Silvio Medeiros said that this initiative was meant to celebrate this kind of spontaneous photography rather than shame it.

"The whole idea its to show people that even during 'selfies' and 'Instagram' fever, decent images can still be produced. now that anybody has access to mobile phones with good cameras, we can all be photographers," he said.

This is an interesting approach that shows that so-called "amateur" photos and professional posters don't necessarily have to be completely separate. This may be partly because so many are exposed to this very simple form of expression: the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted information from a Pew Research survey on how more than a quarter of all Americans circulate selfie photos through some form of social media.

You might want to take a cue from this trend, or perhaps incorporate real selfies into your stand up banners and other promotional tools. These are just some possible ways the current trend toward sharing social media might be recognized by the marketing pieces your company produces.