Our social media feeds are full of memes.
A lot of people engage with this type of content when used right.
What is meme marketing?
Meme marketing is the use of memes to promote your brand narrative. It’s a fun, low-effort way to connect with your audience and increase your engagement rate, as memes are highly shareable.
A meme can be any type of media format, including a GIF, video, text-post, or basic image.
Meme marketing examples
Black wojak memes started spreading on the interwebs in the fall of 2020. It wasn’t until December of the same year that it went viral, with users creating their own version of the hilarious meme.
Kai Collective was one of them.
When rapper Drake released the cover for his "Certified Lover Boy" album, it instantly went viral.
The artist had accomplished his goal of creating a meme-able cover and the public took no time to create their own versions.
This perfume brand not only included its product in the meme but also labeled each one for even better recall.
Netflix leverages its extensive media library to (re)create relevant, funny memes like the one above.
4. Ruka Hair
This one came from the highly viewed special "Oprah with Meghan and Harry."
Haircare brand Ruka Hair created its own version of the meme to point out a major pain point for gel users.
Travel agency Diamond Express Travels uses the Drake meme to highlight a pain point many travelers may have: The burden of planning and booking your own vacation.
Another thing to note is their logo addition.
Because of how shareable memes are, brands are encouraged to add their logo or name on a meme to ensure they remain top of mind when their post spreads.
Hydrop.io, a water company based in India, created this meme to depict how its target audience views various types of water. And, they dive further into this idea in the caption by highlighting the benefits of alkaline water.
In this case, Mexican restaurant Black Rooster Taqueria took a simple approach to share its value proposition: Why deal with bland, cold flour tortillas when you could get fresh, authentic corn tortillas?
The Met Gala is the unofficial meme generator.
Biotech company Mypsomagen cleverly promoted its product kit Gutbiome+ with this meme.
When done right, a meme should get your audience laughing and interested in engaging with your brand.
Another popular figure in memes is none other than politician Bernie Sanders.
When he’s not floating around the internet for seeming completely unenthused at the 2020 presidential inauguration,
I’m not quite sure what caused this meme to go viral, but once it did, everyone was changing the end of this sentence to match their own demands.
10. Purity Coffee
This meme came from the 2002 Star Wars film, "Episode II – Attack of the Clones."
It shows a conversation between two people as one says something that brings happiness and excitement to the other. That is until they realize it may not be so great after all.
Coffee brand Purity Coffee not only educates its audience on an issue they may not be aware of but also boosts its own value in the process.
This meme is an oldie but a goodie.
From solving cliffhangers from TV dramas to developing conspiracy theories, this meme works in many different contexts.
In this example, pet store brand Yappy pokes fun at its core audience, likely animal lovers who have a constant desire to adopt pets.
If you can’t find a meme that fits your brand, make one. That’s exactly what luxury purse brand Telfar did.
They took two still frames from the 2004 movie, "White Chicks," and replaced part of the original line with its own.
It fits perfectly in this case and is a great example of how to leverage existing media for your own use.
13. Anima Iris
The phrase, "How It Started...How It’s Going" took over Twitter for the better part of 2020.
Luxury purse brand Anima Iris shared pictures of its CEO in the early stages of the brand to where it is today.
Meme marketing tips
Stay on brand
As with any marketing strategy, you want to make sure your meme feels authentic to your brand. The thing with trends is that everyone wants to jump on and make sure they don’t miss the train.
Don't be offensive
Brands can get themselves in hot water when they join in on the meme fun without thinking through the implications. Here are a few questions to ask before you join in. Does the meme:
Make fun of a particular group or community?
Include insults, slurs, or charged words?
Rely on the use of suggestive imagery or language?
If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you may want to reconsider its use.
Follow the unofficial meme rules
Here are the guidelines to keep in mind:
Keep it short and sweet.
Use easy-to-read, large text.
Make sure your meme is still recognizable after customizing it.
Don’t try to change the meaning of the meme, that may confuse users.
Avoid including CTAs in your meme.
4. Strike while the iron is hot
Ideally, you want to share your meme as it peaks, not when it’s already made its rounds.
Because once interest has died down, you may not get the traction you want from your audience.
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