Memes are powerful. They're all over the Internet. What started as groups of people sharing funny images quickly transformed into a digital phenomenon we've never seen. That's why meme marketing may be your company's ace in the hole this year.
We've talked about memes before a bit in our article on social media consultants and managers. On platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, they're a cultural tour de force.
But do memes, as a whole, pass muster when you're crafting your next great ad or digital marketing campaign?
Are memes a good marketing strategy in 2023?
What Is Meme Marketing?
Meme marketing refers to using popular internet memes and cultural references in advertising and marketing campaigns. This approach aims to engage with the audience in a humorous and relatable way and increase brand awareness and recognition.
The goal of meme marketing is to create shareable, memorable content that aligns with the values and interests of the target audience.
Why Meme Marketing Is Important
Meme marketing is important because it helps brands connect with their target audience more personally and emotionally.
By using humor and pop culture references, meme marketing creates a sense of relatability and inclusiveness. These factors foster a positive image of the brand and increase customer loyalty.
Additionally, memes are highly shareable and have the potential to go viral, leading to greater brand exposure and reach.
In a fast-paced and cluttered digital landscape, meme marketing allows brands to stand out and grab the attention of their target audience. It also enables them to showcase their brand personality and values and humanize their marketing efforts.
Meme marketing is an effective tool for building brand awareness, generating leads, and driving conversions. This is especially true among younger audiences, like Gen Z, who are highly active on social media.
Humor As A Marketing Tool
We keep mentioning humor, but why is humor such a powerful marketing tool? Regardless of memes, humor is a marketing tool worth tapping into if your brand voice and tone fit in with it.
Humor is a great marketing tool for several reasons:
- Emotional connection. Humor can create an emotional connection with the audience and evoke positive feelings toward the brand. People are more likely to remember and share content that makes them laugh.
- Differentiation. Humor can help a brand stand out in a crowded and competitive market and distinguish itself from competitors.
- Relatability. Humor can make a brand seem more relatable and approachable and help to build a strong rapport with the target audience.
- Memorable. Humorous content is often more memorable than straightforward advertising messages, making it easier for the brand to be remembered and recognized by the audience.
- Increased engagement. Humorous content often receives higher engagement rates on social media, such as likes, shares, and comments, which can lead to greater brand exposure and reach.
By incorporating humor into their marketing strategies, brands can create engaging and unique content that resonates with their target audience.
Plus, relatable humor as a marketing tool helps build a positive image and lasting impression.
Meme Marketing: Capitalizing On Popular Trends
Memes based on current trends and pop culture can be an effective marketing tool as they can help create a sense of relevance and timeliness.
By incorporating the latest trends into their marketing strategies, brands can connect with their target audience and stay top-of-mind.
For example, a brand could create a meme based on a current event or trending topic, such as a popular movie, TV show, or cultural phenomenon, and use it to promote its products or services.
By doing so, they are capitalizing on the trend's popularity and using it to reach a wider audience.
Moreover, creating memes based on trends can also help demonstrate the brand's understanding of popular culture and ability to adapt to changes. This can be especially effective for younger audiences who are highly engaged with social media and popular trends.
Examples of Meme Marketing
Don't believe that memes are money? Here are a few examples of successful meme marketing campaigns that tapped into humor and popular trends to engage with their target audiences.
Old Spice has been known for its humorous and meme-inspired advertising campaigns, such as its "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" commercial that went viral in 2010.
KFC has used meme culture to create memorable and engaging marketing campaigns.
For example, in 2019, they released a series of memes based on the "finger-lickin' good" slogan, with images of celebrities licking their fingers.
The beer brand Dos Equis released a series of commercials featuring "The Most Interesting Man in the World," which became a popular internet meme way back in 2007 and helped increase brand awareness and recognition.
Denny's, a popular diner chain and home of the Grand Slam® has embraced meme culture by creating its own memes and using popular internet slang and references in its social media posts on Twitter.
In 2018, Nike created a viral meme campaign to promote its "Nothing Beats a Londoner" commercial, featuring Londoners doing iconic London things.
Wendy's has a notorious reputation for being one of the most meme-savvy fast food chains, frequently using Twitter to respond to customer inquiries and make jokes using popular memes and internet slang.
In 2019, Microsoft Surface released a series of memes comparing the Surface Pro 6 to the iPad Pro. The campaign was well-received by consumers and helped to drive sales for the Surface Pro.
These examples demonstrate how companies can use meme marketing to increase brand awareness, create a memorable image, and engage with their target audience in a unique and entertaining way.
Memes And The Super Bowl
With the Super Bowl right around the corner, we'd be remiss to ignore how powerful this one-time slot can be. That being said, brands have been leaning into meme culture more and more on football's biggest night.
With an estimated cost of $7 million for a 30-second commercial, a brand's gamble on popular culture means a lot more. In 2020, companies were racing to create content that people could create memes about.
There's one polarizing example of how the Super Bowl can help people and brands focus on memes and encourage meme culture. And it involves a baby peanut.
Planters - Baby Nut
We won't go into the bizarre details, the ups and downs, and the ins and outs of Planters' Baby Nut ad campaign. It's a bit much, and it sounds unbelievable.
Don't believe us? It involves Wesley Snipes eulogizing a deceased Mr. Peanut, dolphin sounds, and the Kool-Aid Man. See?
Long story short, Planters staged Mr. Peanut's 'death,' and during Super Bowl LIV a few weeks later, 'Baby Nut' was born. While we could explain the nuances of this semi-surrealist commercial, check it out yourself.
This new foray into absurdism was a strange move for Planters. People online were quick to criticize this tonal shift, and they took to social media to post memes about Baby Nut.
While some people enjoyed other brands getting silly, others were highly critical, baffling them as to how ad executives could think this was a viable marketing strategy.
While we can all make fun of the absurdity of Baby Nut, Planters is at least thinking outside of the box, and we're talking about it a few years later, aren't we? It was a gamble, and going out of a brand's comfort zone can produce excellent results. In short, memes and viral videos are sometimes a huge driving factor of savvy social media marketing.
Meme Marketing: Start Getting Creative With Sprinkles Media
Companies and brands can easily harness pop culture, online humor, and social media to improve their relatability, image, and more.
For comprehensive social media management, planning, and execution, contact us today to start seeing more traffic and engagement!