When the handle world_record_egg was first established on Instagram at the start of 2019, few could have predicted the momentum or conversation that would be generated by the single picture the account would post – of an egg.
The initial goal was to create the world’s most popular Instagram post, beating Kylie Jenner who held the record at 18 million. The basic egg photograph has since gone on to amass over 52 million likes and the account itself is followed by over 10 million people worldwide.
The caption that kick-started this movement was: “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this.” Quickly, the quirky and unusual nature of the post – and the thrill of a challenge – got everyone clicking away and sharing with friends, wondering where the one-of-a-kind idea had all come from in the first place. In particular, it seemed to resonate with a younger audience who were all sharing with friends at school, in the playground and during their free social time.
As time passed and everyone was talking about ‘the egg’, it transpired that the mystery account was launched by 29-year-old advertising professional Chris Godfrey, who works for creative agency The & Partnership in central London. He manages the account alongside two friends, Alissa Khan-Whelan, 26 and CJ Brown, 29. He decided to pick an egg, as he told the New York Times, simply because: “An egg has no gender, race or religion. An egg is an egg, it’s universal.”
“An egg has no gender, race or religion. An egg is an egg, it’s universal.”
He was inspired to post the picture as an experiment to see if “something as universal and simple as an egg” could beat the then-record breaking image of Kylie Jenner’s new born daughter Stormi. Despite his career background, perhaps even Godfrey couldn’t have anticipated or predicted the new life his egg would gain.
So what do you do once you’ve beaten the world record by a very long mile – and are now in possession of a very valuable account, both for the financial value it holds and the amount of influence you can leverage? Over the past two weeks, teaser images of the egg started to be posted to the account in anticipation that something egg-citing (okay, it’s corny but we love a good pun!) was about to hatch. The final reveal came when the egg featured in a commercial aired during the Super Bowl.
Shown on streaming service Hulu, the video clip depicts the egg cracking under the pressure of being famous. The advert is for Mental Health America, which is a non-profit organisation based in Virginia. Tapping into the many global anxieties surrounding social media, public perception and mental health, the caption read: “Hi, I’m the world_record_egg. (You may have heard of me.) Recently I’ve started to crack. If you’re struggling too, talk to someone.”
“Hi, I’m the world_record_egg. (You may have heard of me.) Recently I’ve started to crack. If you’re struggling too, talk to someone.”
Were we being reeled into a very clever marketing campaign from the start by a highly astute advertising professional, or was he simply capitalising on the vast audience he had managed to acquire through his experiment? According to Godfrey, it would appear to be more about the latter. As he told the New York Times, he was determined to use its success for good.
“It’s not really about me,” he said. “It’s just about the egg and sort of where we can take it and what we can do with it.” He did admit the success had been a “fluke”, but as he pointed out, “it’s a fluke that caught the world’s attention” and “it’s what you do with that attention that counts.”
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