The phenomenon of social media challenge

The phenomenon of social media challenge

#DollyPartonChallenge is a challenge that comes down to presenting a collage of four photos of the same person through the prism of the four most popular social media channels: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Tinder. What is the point and why do so many companies join this challenge?

  • Ewa Guzek
  • 12.03.2020
  • 5 minutes

The originator of #DollyPartonChallenge is a 70-year-old American country music singer – Dolly Rebecca Parton. The idea of the challenge is to present yourself in four versions of “self representation”. To put it simply, your image is adapted to the style of communication: business, friendly, artistic and love. Dolly “outlined” the principles of the challenge by adding a caption to the pictures: “Get you a woman who can do it all”. And this sentence (and photos) started everything.

dolly parton challenge collage



Brands began to prove that they can reach (adapt themselves and their message) each of the target groups and communication channel.

KFC collage


Old spice collage



It seems like #10yearschallenge appeared a year too early. Why? Because #10yearschallenge is about showing two photos that depict all the changes that have taken place over the course of 10 years. The challenge itself took place in 2019, but I feel that comparing 2010 to 2020 would be more “round”. Or maybe it doesn’t matter and paradise for perfectionists doesn’t exist?

Among the entries with the hashtag #10yearschallenge, published by influencers and well-known brands, you could find three different “ways” of presenting their ten-year change. The first one is a real change, i.e. showing how someone or something has changed their appearance after ten years. This was the case with the previously mentioned influencers as well as brands such as Xbox, Mercedes, Garmin or Asus. The second way is to show that despite the passage of 10 years the product of a given brand has not changed at all. That was the way chosen by, among others, LEGO brand and Dr Pepper to address #10yearschallenge. The last way are posts where the change, in contrast to the previously mentioned, turned out to be a negative one. Therefore, the posts concerned environmental and climate changes. Greenpeace and WWF started this trend.

xbox pads 2009 and 2019


green peace - forrest now and 10 years ago


lego blocks - 2009 and 2019


WWF picture - forest now and 10 years ago


# MannequinChallenge

One of the most demanding and at the same time spectacular, challenges in social media. Although the rules of the task were quite simple, preparing the response required a lot of work, skills and self-discipline. What was #MannequinChallenge all about? Well, as the name suggests, people (in the videos sent) pretend to be… mannequins. This challenge showed best that not everyone managed to get the “wow” effect.

Check out below how NBA Cleveland Cavaliers players, together with Michelle Obama in the White House, did #MannequinChallenge. WARNING! SPOILER ALERT – LeBron will blink at the most important moment.


Are six words really enough to make your blood curdle? Yes. And many companies have succeeded in doing this. The task of making one sentence is undoubtedly one of the more creative challenges in social media. Here, in addition to the required ingenuity and a slightly ironic sense of humor, a significant distance to your own brand or your product and service was also necessary.

6 word horror



Two important elements affect the popularity (and very existence) of social media challenges. The first is the topic. Here you can distinguish a challenge resulting from a social topic (important at a given time) – such as the challenge #LikeAGirl (initiated by the Always brand). Speaking of topic category, there are also challenges that don’t take up any important topic. It can be said that these are basically challenges, which at first glance are… pointless. An example would be “Bottle Cap Challenge”. This challenge consists in unscrewing a bottle cap with one’s leg (a roundhouse kick recorded in slow motion). However, the popular challenge would not have been mentioned had it not been for known actors, athletes, journalists and influencers. This brings us to the other element affecting the existence of social media challenges – the involvement of famous people and big brands. If it weren’t for their participation in a given challenge, you would probably not have learned about many of the above-mentioned challenges.

Bottle Cap challenge by Zlatan Ibrahimović