Using Memes in Digital Marketing

What is a meme?

An internet meme is usually a humorous image or piece of text that has been copied (with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.

Example / Case Study: Hyperbole and a Half

Credit: Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half
Credit: Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half

You may or may not be familiar with Allie Brosh and her blog, Hyperbole and a Half, but if you’re an active internet user and/or pop culture junkie, you’ve probably stumbled across the “All The Things!” meme (among others). Without this meme, I might not have discovered her blog. But I’m glad I did, because she is hilarious and has great storytelling skills.

Brosh even has a published book (which I own) and merchandise based off of her blog. Due to the success of her meme? I think so…

Can I use memes in business marketing?

An important aspect of digital marketing (social media in particular) is staying up to date on pop culture and trends… including memes. Piggybacking off of popular memes and sharing the images on your social media pages is a great way to connect with your audience and make them laugh.

Creating a meme-worthy viral campaign is entirely possible, but there’s a good chance you’ll fail. And if something goes wrong, it can be a PR nightmare. But it might not fail. In fact, it might do very well. A meme that goes viral inceases brand awareness and drives traffic to your website – both great things that will ultimately increase sales.

Case Study: Nationwide “Dead Kid” Meme

Here’s an example of a recent meme that was inspired by Nationwide’s depressing Super Bowl commercial. I even made a few:

nationwide-kid-meme-get-well-soon nationwide-kid-meme-happy-birthday-1
nationwide-kid-meme-happy-birthday-2 nationwide-kid-meme-valentines-day

The commercial is said to be a marketing fail, but I disagree. It got everyone’s attention and we’re still talking about it days later. How many commercials can we say that about? How many commercials inspired memes?

What’s your favorite meme?

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