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Posted At: April 2, 2013 7:07 P.M.
by Kaitlyn Honnold

They don’t want the pictures of your food or your feet at the beach (Warning: this College Humor video may be inappropriate for younger viewers). They want something new, controversial, extraordinary — #Untamed.

According to the #Untamed website, “photos can be anything but one thing: average,” and the only rule is to not follow any.

Mercedes-Benz launched an #Untamed art initiative in promotion of its most aerodynamic car yet — the CLA. However, this is more than just a product tie-in.

Users can connect their Instagram to the #Untamed website, then choose the three photos they think fit the purpose. For example, once a user reflects on why they take so many pictures of cookies and maybe how they should re-think their eating habits, the three pictures are given an #Untamed score. This skeptically arbitrary number (1 through 100) determines how different your pictures are from everyone else’s.

Then, here’s the kicker — your three evaluated photos will be on display in a live photo installation in Paris.

Instagram is a great tool in that it aggregates billions of pictures without all the clutter of Facebook. Businesses have been searching for the best way to use this relatively new social media tool, but I feel that few have succeeded.

Some businesses lend themselves to an image-centered platform, like music festivals or nonprofits. Really, it can be anything with potential for striking visuals (think puppies and children).

So what about a luxury car company?

This is where the genius of it all comes in. Mercedes-Benz properly researched its Instagram-ing public.

First, what other city in the world says luxury like Paris? None, that’s what.

Second, through all the “selfies” and pictures of gluten-free vegan faux-chicken sandwiches, one thing about Instagram is clear: Its users want validation. A platform that is focused entirely around posting pictures and receiving feedback is equally as set in the desire for personal validation. Mercedes-Benz thus gives Instagram users something they haven’t gotten from any other company through this social channel.

Your #Untamed score might confirm your suspicion that those shoes you took a picture of yesterday were totally on-point, or it may crush your dreams of ever becoming an iphotographer. But, the real take-away is that Mercedes-Benz is connecting with an artistic community of people who just want to be heard (and seen).

I first heard about the #Untamed project through an art blog I follow. The project was actually this month’s blog sponsor, which is just one example of how thoroughly the project is integrated into the art world.

You can go through and look at your score for each of your Instagram pictures. I was interested to see what types of pictures got the highest scores. Luckily, I don’t have many to go through, but here is what I discovered:

The pictures I chose as my most interesting:

Screen Shot (1)

The pictures that got the highest scores:

Screen Shot (2)





Turns out, cookies don’t seem to get much love:

Screen Shot (3)

Do you think this Instagram strategy is as “unprecedented” as Mercedes claims? How do you think companies will use Instagram in the future?


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