Less than a year ago, a fully licensed stock photo of a speckled egg (costing just £65) broke the internet.
On a dark Friday night at the start of ‘Dry January’, three advertising creatives (arguably, geniuses) set out to smash the record for most-liked picture on Instagram. With less than 50 grid posts to its name, the egg has over 8.6 million followers on Instagram and humbly describes itself as a mere ‘good egg’.
The Instagram account has fostered a huge community, linking 13-year-old school children to global stars like Miley Cyrus and Mike Tyson. This little ovum’s ‘Egg Gang’ is remarkably organic, fiercely loyal and completely in love with the humorous, anti-establishment, morally sound beacon of goodness this its leader represents. That description makes it marginally cultish, but in reality, @World_Record_Egg is just a symbol for the importance of authenticity on social media. In an online world so often associated with fakery, gluttony and excessive capitalism, The @World_Record_Egg stands out as a universal emblem of honesty. As an agency, our house rules are:
It’s not about how much you pay, it’s about how much you care.
It’s not just about reach, it’s about authenticity.
Content that tries to sell, doesn’t, but content that tries to help, does.
The latest episode of the Verified Views podcast – the in-house podcast we produce – features Mother Egg, one of three London creatives responsible for hatching Eugene, the aptly named infamous egg.
Before @World_Record_Egg came along, the world record sat at a cool 18 million, held by none other than Kylie Jenner. If you’re looking to beat the egg, you’ll have to garner 54 million likes on your next selfie to overcome what is now the most liked online post in internet history. So, how exactly does an inanimate egg make it to 54 million likes on the ‘gram, scoring a Super Bowl deal with Hulu along the way?
Without further ado, here are five key takeaways from our chat with Mother Egg; from how to grow your Instagram tribe, to what the deal is with Instagram potentially removing the ability for users to see how many likes a post does or doesn’t get.
An Egg’s Guide To Breaking The Internet
1. How to grow your tribe
Plant the right seeds. Seeding on Instagram is basically when you use the comments section of content on big accounts like a forum. The comments under popular posts from celebrities or meme accounts don’t necessarily relate to the content itself. Most of the time the comments create a community-led conversation about practically anything. Instead of uselessly sliding into the DMs of big buck accounts who would probably never see their message, the OG Egg Gang realised the potential of comment section forums and dove in headfirst, telling commenters to head over to The Egg’s account and join the Egg Gang.
According to Mother Egg, humour really is key. Life is stressful and the world feels heavy a lot of the time. Giving your audience brevity, as well as meaning, is very important. So, don’t take yourself too seriously and remember that laughter is always the best medicine.
The Egg Gang didn’t just choose an egg because they thought it was funny, they chose an egg to use as a metaphor for the fragility of the internet’s ecosystem. By assimilating their brand with meaning, it meant that the transition they made to using their popularity to talk about mental health was truly authentic and sensory.
Quality of content has to come first and foremost. As an agency, we very often talk about quality over quantity, and The Egg’s popularity proves that if you’re authentic and take time to create something quality, you’ll resonate with more people and your reach will be naturally wide.
Personality or anonymity
The jury is still out on this one. In the podcast episode, we discussed why the creatives behind The Egg remained anonymous at first. The answer is universality. The account needed to be relatable for everyone, and not hated for any reason, by anyone. Free of race, religion, gender and entirely apolitical. That being said, personality is imperative. Human connection is fostered between personalities, and yet, towards the end of this conversation during the episode, Mother Egg mentioned that anonymity was potentially The Egg’s secret weapon. Why not try both?
The power of virality
One thing that was mentioned in the podcast, is Instagram’s infamous plans to remove visibility of the number of likes a post can get. The power of virality is undeniable and The Egg Gang were very open about the pressure they felt as the millions of likes and followers mounted. Is there merit in removing the likes on an Instagram post? For one, it might take away the shame associated with not accruing a certain number of likes. However, without visibility of likes The Egg would never be where it is today.
Perhaps instead of focusing on the likes themselves, we should consider the importance of what we do with virality. Young Minds, the mental health charity that The Egg publicly supported in its first days of fame, saw a 147,000% increase in profile visits, just from The Egg highlighting them in a 24-hour Instagram story. As the historians will tell you, use power carefully.
Why relationships matter
Finally, a huge takeaway from this episode is that trust and solid working relationships really are key to success. After The Egg Gang smashed the world record, they were receiving (literally) thousands of email a day from brands all over the world wanting to partner with them and their monumental audience. The Egg knew exactly what it wanted to do and talk about, so when Hulu approached them with an idea that felt right(ish), they went to LA and worked hard to foster a positive working relationship. The Egg Gang actually ended up turning down Hulu’s original idea, coming up with their own idea and pitching it to them instead. From the words of Mother Egg herself, it was trust that meant their partnership could work authentically to deliver an iconic Super Bowl half-time ad.
For more details, you can listen to the podcast episode here.