Another month, another social media craze. Michael Alexander examines the appeal of the ‘Mannequin Challenge’ currently sweeping the internet.
From Trump to Brexit, 2016 may yet go down in history as the year of the dummy.
But you don’t (necessarily) have to be stupid to take part in the Mannequin Challenge – the latest light hearted, somewhat bizarre “craze” that has taken social media by storm.
Branded as the new ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, and following in the wake of the ‘22 Push Up Challenge’, the new online viral trend sees people uploading videos looking as though they’ve been frozen in time.
The requirements are simple. Participants must stay absolutely still while holding a pose like, er, a mannequin – usually with Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” ft. Gucci Mane playing in the background.
Meanwhile someone else weaves in and out of the group capturing the dramatic poses, which are generally supposed to depict some type of scene that tells a bigger story.
Once the clip has been recorded, social media users then share the footage with the hashtag #MannequinChallenge.
The trend started in late October with a group of pupils at Edward H. White High School in Jacksonville, Florida.
Since then it’s caught the imagination of the rich and famous with everyone from the Dallas Cowboys to Beyonce posting videos of themselves stuck in statuesque poses.
Just hours before the US election, a clip filmed on Hillary Clinton’s campaign plane and posted on Twitter showed the presidential candidate, her husband Bill and singer Jon Bon Jovi frozen in action.
England football striker Jamie Vardy made headlines when he struck a pose after scoring against Spain in Tuesday night’s 2-2 friendly draw at Wembley, whilst the Spanish players themselves did their own take in the Wembley dressing room.
And one of the most amusing videos to have appeared on YouTube so far features a posing dog!
In an interview with the BBC, the five American teenagers who started the trend – Deryk, Jaden, Jasmine, Emili and Breonna – didn’t elaborate on the importance of Rae Sremmurd’s song as a soundtrack.
It’s the song that was used in the original video, so perhaps it’s natural that people have followed suit.
But they are surprised at how the trend has taken off.
“We decided to start just recording us doing crazy poses,” Jasmine, 16, told the BBC. “It just went from there.”
Closer to home, and whilst the challenge was originally set up for fun rather than for charity, staff at the Kirriemuir Dental Practice this week decided to make their own fancy dress Mannequin Challenge video to raise funds for the 2016 BBC Children in Need.
Dental surgeon Aisling Hanly, 43, a partner in the firm, said staff had previously taken part in the ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’.
“It was a total impromptu decision to make a #MannequinChallenge video,” she said.
“We were coming in wearing fancy dress for Children in Need anyway. But when we saw some of the mannequin videos – the BBC Sport team in the corridor, the gymnasts, the Spanish footballers – we decided to make our own. It’s been good for team building and a good laugh as well!”
Hold the press! The Courier Mannequin Challenge
It would be churlish to write a feature on the Mannequin Challenge, and then not give it a go.
Here’s what happened when Courier editor Richard Neville spotted a comma out of place while editorial staff were checking early proofs of an edition this week.