Kate Upton and Chrissy Teigen, yes, but Michelle Jenneke and Katherine Webb, you wonder? Well, Jenneke and Webb are products of Sports Illustrated’s new social media-influenced choice of models for the 2013 Swimsuit Edition.

uptonwebbandfriendsNo, the point about S.I.’s Swimsuit Edition being social media based didn’t come from anything the magazine’s editor MJ Day said, but from this blogger being aware of who’s generated buzz via social media.

From that perspective, Kate Upton, Chrissy Teigen, Michelle Jenneke, and Katherine Webb have caused a collective tsunami of social media videos, mentions, tweets, retweets, likes, blogs, and comments. And YouTube’s ability to propel one into stardom quickly took center stage.

Kate Upton S.I. Swimsuit Model
First, consider that Sports Illustrated picked Upton for not just the second year, but the second straight year. Upton has been the focus of at least three multi-million view viral videos in 2012, including her dancing bikini video from last summer. All of this has collectively kept Upton’s face, name, and body in the collective eye of American Culture. From Sports Illustrated’s perspective, that helps to sell magazines at a time when people aren’t buying them at profitable rates.

But Kate Upton’s not enough.

Second, Michelle Jenneke was a previously unknown Australian hurdler, until a videographer took notice of her dancing routine before last year’s Junior World Championships, put it to music and slowed it down, and the result was a YouTube hit. Scores of videos featuring Jenneke’s now signature dance dominated YouTube, and her Google Insight For Search ranking zoomed from 3 on December 10th to 100 on December 14th – the first time Michelle Jenneke’s name ever hit A-list search territory.

Since then Jenneke’s been the focus of yet another viral video, and even this blogger got into the act:

Finally, Katherine Webb was only known as Miss Alabama and the girlfriend of Alabama Crimson Tide QB AJ McCarron. But a chance focus by ABC cameras on Webb at the BCS National Championship Game, and a comment about Webb’s beauty by famed announcer Brent Musburger (who can forget that “hubba, hubba) gave Webb a trip to the same Google Insight For Search ranking heights that Jenneke experienced last year. Katherine Webb gained 90,000 new Twtter followers during the BCS Championship telecast, and now has over a quarter-million Twitter followers at 272,000.

Now, Webb was on David Letterman, and today on the Dan Patrick Show, here:

All of this adds up to name and buzz recognition, but now the question is will this experiment pay off in magazine sales? The one problem I see is that media today requires some kind of call to action if you want legions of people to spend money. The magazine purchase action should have been tied in with some kind of social media reward. Something like this: buy the magazine and make a photo of yourself next to it, and upload it to a designated website. The chosen winner will receive two tickets, airfare, and hotel to the 2014 Super Bowl plus spending money.

That would have completed the media reach process. Because the added action would call for an automatic tweet to be released about that contestants photo upload, and it would keep the buzz about the magazine going.

By Zennie Abraham

Zennie Abraham | Zennie Abraham or "Zennie62" is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of zennie62blog.com and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham.