Memes and Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven?

15 May 2019| Post by Charlotte4 minutes

It goes without saying; everyone loves a good meme.

If we’re not posting, liking or tagging our friends, we’re sharing them amongst our group chats. Memes have just become an integral part of online society.

But these funny images and concepts have been found to have a deeper purpose. In recent years, brands have been utilising the universality of meme culture, integrating it into their online marketing campaigns to springboard their name across the masses. But why have these internet funnies become such a great way to advertise? And how can your business use them successfully?

First and foremost, what is a meme?

Well, the term ‘meme’ has not always been used to refer to those funny and #relatable images you see on your timeline. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins actually coined the phrase in the seventies – explaining that a ‘meme’ exists in the actions that we replicate and mirror from those who we have seen succeed. We adopt and shape these actions to reap the same successful outcome. In 2001, ‘meme’ was redefined as the sharing of an image, usually paired with various witty captions depicting something we relate to.

Who’s doing it?

Earlier this year, Pepsi released an advert which not only used but challenged the internet meme: ‘Is Pepsi okay?’; a question that has proved to be a universal occurrence when ordering a cola drink. Feeling like their trademark was being diminished, the huge cola brand utilised this meme and enrolled celebrities to respond with; ‘It’s more than okay’. The meme reference, the brand’s ‘clap-back’ as well as the use of pop culture, was well received by its audience.

Here in the UK, Tesco Mobile did a similar thing- referencing a popular meme which pointed fun at those who used the provider. Tesco responded over Twitter with witty comebacks which went viral, as well as ads which responded to these digs.

But, why memes?

It could be said that memes and their instantly likeable quality have the possibility to be nothing more than a ready-made marketing hit. But what is it about memes that are so attractive to the digital marketing world?

Here are some of our personal favourites:

When being used right; they are current and on trend

Replicating a current and popular meme allows your company to slip into the list of ‘What’s Trending’. Using certain keywords that are constantly being shared, liked and searched for encourages clicks, and places your brand up there with the most popular posts. Not only will you be viewed as on trend, but probably admired for the sense of humour you share with your clientele. It puts you on their level, which is an attractive quality for potential customers.

They are easily accessible, sharable and spread FAST

Memes are sources of entertainment that come in short bursts and thrive within social media. This enables them to be easily accessible and sharable via direct messaging, likes and retweets. memes, as well as the brand using them, have the ability to go far in just a matter of clicks.

It’s two worlds colliding, and we LOVE it

We share them with our friends, our family and we caption them as ‘OMG SO MEEE’. 💁‍♀️

Their universality allows them to relate to us all. Seeing your favourite brands, or new interesting companies integrating memes into their style generates feelings of relatability and familiarity. These attributes can be the foundations of a great clientele rapport.


Can they work for you?

Outlets such as Instagram and Twitter are environments in which memes evolve. It is VITAL to have the best social media team, one that can keep up on the latest trends and know how to cleverly incorporate them into your brand. Experience in social media, in terms of use and analytics, is also key in order to know the best way to represent the company.

So, whether you go for that hilarious cat gif, or the non-judgmental tea sipping frog, the wonderful and sometimes weird world of memes can do the biggest brands, or the newest companies, the world of good when amplifying an online campaign. If you think memes are the right venture for you, remember it’s all about keeping on top with the latest and greatest and using a meme’s popularity to your own advantage.

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