Whatever you think of memes, the fact is that they have become a permanent fixture of social media.
The average person spends 2 hours a day on social media.
- Elena Perez, EssayOnTime
What do you think that they do during that time? They’re not just checking out funny videos and content from their favorite influencers; they’re also checking out memes.
A meme is any joke, fad, or other piece of content that is memorable and spreads across social media and the World Wide Web in a viral manner.
They are typically in the form of a photo with a clever caption to follow. They used to be used to spread jokes, but now many popular brands are beginning to recognize them as a powerful marketing strategy or tool.
We checked out some of the most successful cases of brands that used memes to their advantages and tried to distill these to what really made it work.
That is the crux of what we’re going to explore today.
Barkbox – Dog Treat and Toy Subscription Service
Instagram is perhaps one of the most successful platforms for memes.
That is because it supports the highly visual nature of memes due to what Instagram was built for in the first place.
Barkbox sells subscriptions for toys and treats for dogs and decided to use Instagram to its advantage.
In fact, most of the content on Barkbox’s Instagram profile consists of various memes related to animals.
These memes are highly relatable and very funny for animal lovers. That means they get shares thousands, if not tens of thousands of times, by the faithful followers of their Instagram page as well as other animal lovers in general.
The fact that memes are so relatable is one of the major reasons why they end up getting shared so much.
It’s why the whole medium that is the meme works so well. A meme does not feel like some kind of promotion or ad.
Instead, it engages users on something they like. Either they will find it funny or they will find it relatable, or they will find it irreverent and endearing in some way.
It feels authentic and the original poster of the meme, the brand, in this case, feels authentic as well. That is why they become so easy to share.
Gucci – Luxury Retailer
It isn’t common among luxury retailers to use humor or viral memes to market their products.
Instead, most luxury retailers will go for something a little more polished and professionally crafted to mimic their own high end and exclusive pedigree.
In this sense, Gucci’s recent decision to try this method of marketing comes as something that is quite unique. Gucci decided to market its ‘Le Marche des Merveilles’ timepiece collection using memes.
The specific marketing campaign that Gucci launched was dubbed the #TWFGucci campaign and was a large scale operation.
The retailer hired artists to take well-known memes and adapt them to the Gucci watches that were being advertised.
One of these was the popular “me vs the guy she says I shouldn’t worry about” meme which was adapted to feature a Gucci watch.
To be entirely honest, the campaign raised its fair share of controversy. On the one hand, there were those who supported it, saying it was a great and creative new approach to marketing luxury retail products.
On the other, there were those who decried it as Gucci taking over internet culture and slang in a way that was too on-the-nose.
Whichever camp you were on, the fact remains that the campaign sent waves and trended. That was the intended result, wasn’t it?
Seamless – Online Food Delivery Service in the US
Seamless is well known for using funny pictures on its social media profiles. It took an interesting turn in 2014, however, when it crafted a set of memes based on the Academy Award nominations, something that is already a popular talking point.
It dubbed these memes, which came in the form of spoof posters for films, the ‘OscarNomNoms’.
One of the most popular ones was the “Wolf of Waffle Street”, which was a play on the popular Hollywood movie “Wolf of Wall Street”.
This was a very effective campaign, to say the least, especially since it greatly involved the users. The followers would be encouraged to give suggestions, which would in turn be turned into funny spoof film posters.
By combining a timely hijacking of the news with memes, this campaign was able to increase the brand’s engagement in a dramatic fashion.
Nickelodeon – Television Channel
One of the things that make memes so popular is their ability be relatable, especially when it comes to scenarios and emotions.
Nickelodeon, the kids’ television channel, uses this to create some great memes for its Instagram and Twitter feeds.
All the memes are based on relatable topics that are nonetheless simple enough for children to understand, including watching television, getting excited about a new show, dealing with parents, and so on.
The memes are pretty effective and engage young viewers. To promote its own television schedule, Nickelodeon uses clips and snippets from its own popular shows to create those memes.
That way, these memes will grab the attention of those already watching the shows as well as attract others to them.
Smile Train – Global Children’s Charity
Smile train works to help children with cleft lip and in need of palate repair.
It launched a meme campaign in 2015 that was inspired by the most popular baby-related memes. The aim was to engage millennials.
Typically, charities use highly graphic and very upsetting imagery to market themselves.
Smile Train decided to be different and focus on relatable messages that were light-hearted. The campaign was based on Walter, a baby that went on a so-called ‘smile strike’ as a show of solidarity with all the children that were afflicted in the world.
The hashtag for the campaign was #seriousbaby and it was made in order to be easy to share. Needless to say, it was a runaway success.
The sphere of marketing is involving at a rapid pace and it is always an advantage to be creative in the marketing strategies you use for your brand. Memes represent yet another fast-growing marketing tool that you can add to your arsenal.
You never know; the meme might just be the cause of your next big marketing break.
Brands that have marketed using memes:
- Smile Train
About the Author: Jacob Dillon is a professional writer and distinctive journalist from Sydney. Being passionate about what he does, Jacob likes to discuss stirring events as well as express his opinion about technological advancements and evolution of society. Find Jacob on Twitter and Facebook.