The rise of social media has transformed the way we communicate and consume information. Today, we are bombarded with an endless stream of content, from articles to videos, images, and memes. But what exactly is a meme? A meme is a cultural phenomenon that spreads through social media and other online channels. It's a visual or textual element that's shared among a group of people, usually with humorous or satirical intent.
Memes have become an integral part of our online culture, and they can be a powerful tool for marketers looking to reach younger audiences. In this blog post, we'll explore the basics of meme marketing and how you can use memes to engage with Gen Z and millennials.
Why Use Memes for Marketing?
Before we dive into how to use memes for marketing, let's take a look at why they are so effective. Here are some reasons why memes are a great tool for marketers:
- Memes are relatable: Memes often touch on universal experiences, such as the struggle of getting out of bed in the morning or the joys of a good cup of coffee. By tapping into these shared experiences, memes can create an instant connection with your audience.
- Memes are shareable: Memes are designed to be shared, which means that they can spread quickly and easily across social media. This makes them a powerful tool for building brand awareness and reaching new audiences.
- Memes are attention-grabbing: Memes are often humorous or absurd, which means that they can capture people's attention in a way that traditional marketing messages may not.
How to Use Memes for Marketing
Now that we've established why memes are an excellent marketing tool let's look at how you can use them effectively. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Understand your audience
Before you start creating memes, it's important to understand your audience. Who are you trying to reach, and what kind of memes are they likely to find funny or relatable? Take the time to research your audience's interests and preferences, and use this information to inform your meme strategy.
2. Keep it on-brand
While memes can be irreverent and humorous, it's important to ensure that they align with your brand values and messaging. Ensure that your memes are consistent with your overall brand voice and tone, and avoid anything that could be seen as offensive or insensitive.
3. Stay relevant
Memes are constantly evolving, and it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and formats. Keep an eye on social media and meme communities to see what's trending, and use this information to inform your meme strategy.
4. Don't force it
Meme marketing should feel natural and organic, not forced or contrived. If you're struggling to come up with a meme that fits your brand or messaging, it's probably best to avoid using memes altogether.
5. Use humor wisely
Humor can be a powerful tool for engaging with your audience, but it's important to use it wisely. Avoid anything seen as offensive or insensitive, and ensure that your humor is appropriate for your audience.
Examples of Effective Meme Marketing
Now that we've covered the basics of meme marketing let's look at some examples of brands that have used memes effectively.
Wendy's is known for its irreverent and humorous social media presence, and the brand has used memes to great effect on Twitter. In 2017, the brand launched a campaign called #NuggsForCarter, which challenged a Twitter user named Carter Wilkerson to get 18 million retweets in exchange for a year's supply of free chicken nuggets. Wendy's created a custom meme featuring a cartoon version of its mascot holding a sign with the hashtag #NuggsForCarter. The meme went viral, and Wilkerson eventually surpassed the 18 million retweet goal. The campaign generated widespread media coverage and helped to boost Wendy's social media following.
BarkBox, a subscription service for dog owners, has also used memes to great effect on its social media channels. The brand creates humorous memes featuring dogs in relatable situations, such as trying to catch a tennis ball or begging for food. These memes resonate with BarkBox's target audience and help to reinforce the brand's playful and lighthearted image.
Netflix is known for its savvy social media strategy, and the brand has used memes to promote its original programming. In 2018, the brand created a series of memes featuring characters from its hit show "Stranger Things" interacting with real-life brands like Eggo waffles and Baskin-Robbins. These memes helped to create buzz around the show and reinforce its nostalgic '80s vibe.
IHOP, the pancake restaurant chain, created a series of memes featuring images of its pancakes with humorous captions. The brand's #IHOPancakes hashtag encouraged customers to share photos of their IHOP meals on social media. The meme campaign helped increase brand awareness and drive engagement on the platform.
5. Old Spice
Old Spice, the men's grooming brand, created a series of absurd and humorous ads featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa. These ads spawned a series of memes, with fans creating their own versions of Mustafa's famous "Look at your man, now back at me" line. The brand's embrace of meme culture helped to create a more youthful and irreverent image for Old Spice.
Denny's, the diner chain, has built a reputation for its quirky and irreverent social media presence. The brand's Twitter account regularly shares memes and jokes, often riffing on current events or pop culture trends. This approach has helped to create a loyal following among younger audiences and drive engagement on the platform.
7. Ryan Reynolds
Actor Ryan Reynolds is known for his irreverent and self-deprecating sense of humor, and he has used memes to promote his movies and brand partnerships. Reynolds created a series of memes featuring himself in various absurd situations, often poking fun at his public image. These memes have helped to create a more relatable and approachable image for Reynolds and his projects.
MoonPie, the marshmallow and graham cracker snack, has built a cult following on social media thanks to its quirky and humorous tweets. The brand regularly shares memes and jokes, often riffing on current events or pop culture trends. This approach has helped to create a loyal following among younger audiences and drive engagement on the platform.
9. Domino's Pizza
Domino's Pizza, the pizza delivery chain, created a series of memes featuring its pizzas with humorous captions. The brand's #LetsDoPizza hashtag encouraged customers to share photos of their Domino's meals on social media. The meme campaign helped increase brand awareness and drive engagement on the platform.
Skittles, the fruit-flavored candy brand, has used memes to promote its products on social media. The brand's "Taste the Rainbow" slogan has been repurposed into a series of memes featuring colorful and surreal images. These memes have helped to create a more playful and memorable image for Skittles.
Meme marketing can be a powerful tool for engaging with younger audiences and building brand awareness. By understanding your audience, staying on-brand, and using humor wisely, you can create memes that resonate with your target audience and help to boost your social media presence. While meme marketing may not be right for every brand, it's worth exploring as a way to reach younger audiences and inject some fun into your marketing strategy.