Why are Big Brands Using Memes as a Marketing Tool? How Do They Do It?

Much has been made of the impact of digital marketing on the business landscape. Businesses have had to keep up with an ever-changing industry that is moving at a fast pace. With social media becoming increasingly important to online consumers, companies can easily overlook other opportunities that might produce results. One area business is looking at more closely is memes.  

What are Memes?

Memes are images or videos with text overlaid to create an Internet meme. They usually contain some form of humor and often reference popular culture icons or events. While they have been around for years, their popularity exploded during the 2008 election when candidate Obama used them in his campaign messaging against John McCain. Now, brands big and small are seeing how effective they can be in their marketing.

Why are Brands Using Memes?

Brands have been using memes for a variety of reasons. Some companies use them as a way to show that they understand current events and popular culture. Others see them as a way to tap into the youth market, who might not be watching TV or reading magazines to see product information. In other cases, memes have been used by brands as part of larger advertising campaigns. Visit Meme Scout for more information.

Whatever the reason, big brands from Coca-Cola to Starbucks have taken advantage of this growing trend. Here are some of the top brands that are using memes successfully to market their products.

Hershey’s Uses Memes for Social Media Engagement

A recent tweet sent by Hershey’s turned into one of the most successful marketing campaigns on Twitter. The company mentioned “Me at the beginning of 2016 vs. me at the end of 2016” along with an image. This tweet was picked up by Aziz Ansari, who added his own joke about eating chocolate cake for breakfast.  

The result was a tweet that has been retweeted over 95,000 times and favorited more than 1,20,000 times. This is a perfect example of how companies can use memes to engage current customers and reach new ones.

Nike: A Well-Timed Brand Meme

When the Oregon bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple closed, Nike posted an image. The ad featured two men holding hands while wearing Nike shoes with the caption “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Nike’s decision was seen as progressive and relevant by many current customers.  

Mental Floss Uses Memes to Promote Products

Mental Floss has used memes in its marketing campaigns, working more on the editorial side than most companies. For example, they created ads featuring pictures of famous authors like Roald Dahl with text that read, “If you want your kids to eat vegetables, try convincing them they’re candy” or “If you don’t want your kids to marry a Kennedy, try not sending them to boarding school.”

These images helped the company convey its brand message while also appealing to readers.

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