The mannequin challenge has taken the internet, particularly social media, by storm. Youngsters in school and college classes, workplaces, social circles, and even in their families are going crazy about the viral trend. The fact that there’s no prerequisite and just about anyone with a smartphone can get started with it is what’s making this trend increasingly popular among people. Hence, if you’ve exhausted all the ideas for your Instagram feed, the mannequin challenge should be your next move.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Mannequin Challenge:

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What is the Mannequin Challenge?

Simply put, the mannequin challenge is the latest video genre in which people capture themselves in a total standstill state like a mannequin. Everything remains fixated except the camera, which jumps from one person to another. Instead of any dialogs, a song by Rae Sremmurd, recognized as ‘Black Beatles’ plays in the background.

Mannequin Challenge
Credit: Featureflash

Where Did the Mannequin Challenge Originate From?

While the origins of the mannequin challenge aren’t difficult to trace, explaining them is tough. The first of the Mannequin Challenge videos are known to have been uploaded by a high school student in Jacksonville, Florida on Twitter on Oct 26, 2016. The video portrayed multiple students frozen in their positions as the camera shots them. One of the students eventually unfreezes and lifts a frozen student. Ever since the video has been uploaded, it has been retweeted more than 4,700 times.

From there, the post inspired thousands of spinoffs, ranging from individuals to friends to entire sports teams. By November 7, 2016, at least 60,000 videos with the hashtag #MannequinChallenge had been posted on Instagram. The trend is also active on Twitter. But how exactly did the song ‘Black Beatles’ came into play remains a question mark. Not even pop duo was able to provide a satisfying answer, even though they personally took part in the challenge in one of their concerts.

While the song was released in September, 2016, which was pretty recent for the video, it had already gained a lot of popularity, fetching around 40 million YouTube views at the time. It was part of SremmLife 2, Rae Sremmurd’s second album. If you watch the original song video, you won’t spot any reason why this song should be used for the viral Mannequin Challenge. Not even Rae Sremmurd knows the reason. Anyhow, the song somehow got integrated and the trend continues to gain traction. It may come as a surprise that Hillary Clinton, the democratic presidential nominee also took part in the trend, creating a Mannequin Challenge video of her own.

Mannequin Challenge

What Makes the Act Captivating?

The freeze frame style of action seen in a mannequin challenge video immediately captures attention. The eye remains focused on actors frozen in a specific action instead of looking everywhere to determine what’s happening. For this reason, several celebrities and numerous brands have joined the trend. They’re developing videos of desired scenes featuring their clients, happy people, potential customers, thoughtful people, etc. in poses that immediately communicate what their brands stand for and offer. As long as the targeting is correct, influencers and businesses can easily spark interest and develop an enormous following.

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Features of the Most Popular Mannequin Challenge Videos

Let’s now take a look at the features of the shared mannequin challenge videos on social media:

Groups of People: The best videos include around 5 to 20 participants. You may invite your friends to develop a great video if you don’t have too many interested people at home.

Background Music: While the song ‘Black Beatles’ is associated with the trend, it doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from this one at all. Garuda Indonesia, for example, used their own jingle selection for their Boeing 777-300ER plane. Don’t hesitate to add some creativity here and use a different song here.

Plain and Grand Poses: This is where you’ll need a lot of thinking. If you’re a business with a brick-and-mortar facility, think about what your customers would naturally do when visiting your establishment? What do you want them to do? The pose of each individual will reflect what they like doing and the type of personality they possess. Here are some ideas:

  • Exploring items
  • Talking on phone
  • Capturing a selfie or a photo
  • Purchasing something
  • Talking to a salesman
  • Picking a dropped item from the floor
  • Dragging a child away from the toy section
  • Serving food to people (in the case of a restaurant or coffee shop)

And the list goes on. Depending on the industry you’re in, listing down the ideas itself can be fun, let alone acting them out with your team.

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More About the Mannequin Challenge

“The Mannequin Challenge might be on a verge of decline, but the trend is now being used to train a neural network in understanding 3D scenes.” according to Scott Cooper of Miami Beach. As humans, we can immediately differentiate a 3D video from a 2D one, machines need to be programmed to be able to do that. From the standpoint of robotics research, the ability to reconstruct the arrangement and depth of freely moving objects is valuable. It can help robots operate in new surroundings. This is the reason the Mannequin Challenge has sparked the interest of computer-vision researchers, especially those associated with autonomous cars.

Researchers from Google AI took around 2,000 of the Mannequin Challenge videos from the internet, converted them into 2D images with high-resolution depth data, which were then used to train a neural network. The trained neural network was then able to more accurately determine the depth of moving objects in a video than what was achieved using former advanced methods. Hence, those who participated in the Mannequin Challenge indirectly contribute to the advancement of robotics and computer vision research.


By now, you should have obtained a fair idea about the Mannequin Challenge. Whether you’re a member of a group or sports team looking for some fun or part of a corporation looking to build brand awareness, the Mannequin Challenge can be a great way to achieve your goals.

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