It’s impossible to go online today without experiencing a meme. From Game of Thrones to sporting events and politics, people are utilising this form of communication to showcase their sense of humour (and ideas) to each other. It isn’t a new concept, though, as Richard Dawkins first coined it over four decades ago, even though it’s found its peak in the digital age.
According to Limor Shifman, Professor of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the meme (pronounced as “meem”) is a form of individualism but it’s also vital to our sense and need for community. It’s deeply ingrained in the way we communicate with our friends and family, becoming a pivotal part of the social landscape. The fact that even your phone encourages you to create a meme folder is evident of how prevalent it’s become in our culture and it isn’t going away.
On the other side of the coin, the viral nature of memes has catapulted the everyday person to superstardom and the public consciousness. “Saltbae”, aka Nusret Gökçe, has become an in-demand chef ever since his preparation techniques become internet fodder, while Bhad Bhabie, aka Danielle Bregoli, built her whole career around the “catch me outside” meme that made her an instant sensation.
Grumpy Cat (R.I.P. Tardar Sauce) is the perfect example of how a meme can lead to a profitable franchise. The cat whose appearance was a result of an underbite and dwarfism rose to unparalleled success after a picture of her being posted on Reddit. From comic books to a movie, it’s reported that this meme-able cat made over $100 million for her family.
The meme shows us that no matter how basic it is, a simple message can carry a huge impact. Add in a sprinkle of humour, a popular culture reference, and anything is possible. Perhaps, the question that brands need to ask themselves is, what did I meme to say?
Are memes part of your content plan? Maybe they should be. Contact us about how it can be incorporated into your brand’s plan going forward.