Who doesn’t love a good meme?
Today, it seems the internet revolves around them. They’re everywhere. Social media is littered with them, this blog has them, even businesses are utilising them.
Memes are easy to read, recognise, simple to digest, relatable and highly shareable. This has evolved the art of meme-ing from a innocently humorous way to communicate popular culture, into noticeably powerful art-form that reaches millions of people around the world.
And of course, this couldn’t happen without a few marketers noticing, could it?
But the dangers of businesses using memes or ‘meme hijacking’ are real. Memes are complicated and unpredictable beasts which can backfire on marketers if used unsafely. This is largely due to the complicated nature of memes:
- They have short and fickle lifespans. What’s hot one day may be socially unacceptable the next.
- They exist simultaneously. Memes don’t take even turns in the spotlight. Meme-culture is a mess of ever changing likes and dislikes.
- Most memes are exclusive. Not everyone understands every meme created, and that’s the way its meant to be.
So the question is, should businesses utilise memes in their digital marketing strategy?
The answer in most cases is, Hijacking memes is very rarely a valid digital strategy.
Firstly, the memes are often just used completely out of context. They are irrelevant to the product actually being advertised and in this way, completely off-brand.
Secondly, its often just too niche. Sure a minority may recognise your meme and respond positively, but most the time the majority of consumers are alienated by it and left confused.
Finally, its just lame. Marketers hijacking memes to most people just shows a lack of effort and creativity. It’s also likely to just kill the meme itself by diluting its exclusivity (and ruining the fun for everyone).
So what’s your opinion on brands using memes? Have you got time for that?