Memes, the language of the internet and social media. As a frequent social media user, memes are one of the things I look forward to whenever I browse the web. It has taken over the internet and it is EVERYWHERE! From Facebook, Twitter to Reddit, accounts dedicated to memes have amassed huge followings. So much so that brands have begun to adopt memes as one of their marketing tools. I’d like to share an article regarding memes by McCrae.
So what is a meme? Dawkins describes meme as “an idea, behaviour or style that spreads person to person within a culture” where an original idea is deliberately altered by human creativity. From memes such as Grumpy Cat, Salt Bae and Brace Yourselves (GOT) to sensitive and inappropriate topics such as Harambe and Terrorism, memes become a trend, joke or memorable piece of content that spreads online.
Brands have adopted memes to communicate to their audiences and it has yielded mixed results. Those who get it right, resonate with their audiences and generate large amounts of reach and brand awareness. On the other side of the coin, brands may seem unimaginative and unoriginal.
McCrae listed five guidelines to follow:
- Speak the language. Audience can spot inauthenticity and create a negative image for trying too hard.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Show off your brand’s human side because memes are meant to be silly and ridiculous.
- Be comfortable knowing that not everybody will understand. Target the niche groups.
- Increase shareability. Add relevant hashtags, pose questions and promote tagging friends
- Be timely. Meme culture is constantly evolving, important for brands to get it right.
During the Super Bowl a few years back, the stadium experienced a blackout and Oreo tweeted this ad related to the blackout. It was well received and generated 15,000 retweets and 6,800 likes on the post. A 15-person social media team was ready during the Super Bowl to respond to whatever happened at the event. Oreo “won” the Super Bowl marketing thanks to the reaction this generated without paying millions of dollars for air time.
Have you come across any brands using memes on their social media and how successful was it? Do you believe meme marketing is an effective tool for marketers?