Two cents blog

There’s no such thing as a (virtual) free lunch…

by Shelley Lewis on 9 February 2015

A few months ago I signed up to get a stranger to draw a picture of me based on my Facebook profile pic – for free via Selfless Portraits. The catch… I had to draw a portrait of someone else.

As a member of account service, with little artistic skill, the prospect of creating a portrait of someone else was utterly terrifying. So, I corralled my account service buddies to undertake the challenge with me.

Upon signing up, I was assigned the Facebook profile picture of Raul from Brazil. 45 minutes (and several drafts) later, I had my portrait ready. One of my teammates, Bec, jumped in on the action too.

Raul portrait

Due to the high demand on the site, it was several weeks before we received our portraits back, but for me it was worth the wait.

Shelley portrait

For Bec, the gamble didn’t pay off – she was spammed.

Bec spam

In the era where clicking ‘like’ or ‘share’ is the standard measurement of engagement, it’s amazing to see how much work people are prepared to put into something they find interesting, and of true value. Hundreds of thousands of people have participated over the past year in this global collaborative project, and plenty more are signing up each day.

When attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, it’s comforting to know that if we can get the value exchange right with our audiences, true engagement and participation can be our reward.

Will you create a selfless portrait?

Shelley Lewis is a Group Account Director at BCM

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