Meme Marketing: Memes and Brands – A Thrilling Marriage Story

Meme Marketing is picking steam over the last few years. The phenomena was apparent during the recent “Binod” and “Rasode mai kaun tha”… wi… Meme marketing, Meme marketing, Meme marketing, Meme Marketing, Meme Marketing

I am sure your screen would have been inundated with one single question very recently: Rasode mein kon tha?

Yes, that’s the million-dollar question that has been the interest of not only millennials, GenZs, and all other netizens but also the well-known brands.

It all started with a short funny video made by Yashraj Mukhate, which went viral. Soon Zomato picked it up and came up with a meme and the rest is a humorous history.

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This tweet probably took the trophy home

Many brands came up with their version of stories and theories. Let’s have a look at some of them:

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Hilarious, aren’t they?

McDonald’s even went ahead and changed its profile name to “McDonald’s ke Rasode mein fries hai”

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Funny right? But more importantly, utterly relatable. And, that, my friend, is Meme Marketing is all about! Brands that were once perceived to be serious, are now suddenly looking to be your best friend. New-age Marketing, eh? The power of Social Media!

Now before we talk about brands, let’s dive into the history of memes.

How Meme Marketing started?

First of all what exactly is a meme?

The word was coined by Mr. Richard Darwin in 1976 meaning imitated things. It’s a concept, behaviour, idea, catchphrase, or element of culture in the form of image, text, or video, typically humorous that is shared with people and gets imitated with variations. Yeah, basically anything funny.

It’s a Viral Game. It all started in the 1990s when the internet world was mushrooming. The real leap, however, has been in the last few years and now we can’t imagine our digital lives without memes being an integral part of it.

The meme culture has boomed and looks like it is here to stay.

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Here’s a doge for you, no reason. That is how memes work. You laugh you move on.

Earlier when we spoke about memes it was always related to humorous jokes sent by our friends or sharing laughs by seeing it on those meme pages that you follow, well not anymore!

When we talk about trends, we know how brands have been a trendjackers (Just like highjackers, trendjackers, look to capitalize on the trend). For a long time now, these brands trendjack in order to increase brand awareness, traffic, the share of mind, etc. But most of them are struggling to be a meme-jackers, you know why?

They lack expertise. But, they are on the cusp of making it precisely a professional marketing strategy and not just randomly leveraging one or two trends.

So much so that Bud Light recently launched a job opening stating that they are looking for a CMO and that’s not Chief Marketing Officer but Chief Meme Officer, yes you read it right. And they did the job posting in the most hilarious way possible!

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Bud Light looking for a CMO – Chief Meme officer!
Memes and Brands Strategy:

It is said that millennials spend around 200 minutes online every day and as memes in the digital space are booming there is very less chance that there will be anyone who will not be exposed to memes. Once these brands realize the level of engagement memes create with an audience, every brand will want to have a share of it!

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What makes meme so special?

Well, as we mentioned. The most vital part of it is that it’s weirdly funny, immensely relatable, and while it’s trending it’s there in your mind all the time. But with great powers comes great responsibilities! Right?

It’s just like fast fashion, it keeps on changing and you have to be updated and quick on what’s going on in social media, if you want to entertain your audience else you will be considered outdated and boring.

The Pulse of the youth

Memes are noteworthy because they share emotions, it’s like a language amongst the younger population. Audience use memes to express their feelings and emotions. Below are some statistics according to the report of YPulse’s social media behaviours survey. It depicts the importance of memes in the life of a young population and the reason behind why they share it.

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It says, 75% of 13-36 year olds share memes. Now, that’s something huge if you consider the younger generation as your target group. Moreover, 55% of 13-35 year olds send memes every week and 30% send them every day.

So, clearly this strategy is used by brands majorly to get the attention of the younger audience. But, what’s more, important here is to set the tone of your brand. Memes might act as a distraction and not suit your brand DNA, so the brands shouldn’t just get swayed by the trend.

It’s important to know your target audience and their voice and only then the advantage of meme strategy can be fully realized. The investment as a small brand to make memes is literally less. It also gives a great opportunity to the brand to show their real persona to their target audience and widen their reach.

Brands can either make their own memes or use a variation of the existing ones connecting it to their own brand. Most brands use both as per the trend that’s going on in the social media to engage the audience.

Binod

Do you remember the Binod phase we went through “before Rasode mein kon tha?” we’re sure you do. It came out of nowhere but brands went crazy over the word to improve their PR.

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Binod

Paytm changed its name to Binod because someone from the audience requested them to do it!

That’s empowerment, isn’t it?

Not just brand but many state police departments used it too! Yes have a look:

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And the most hilarious one:

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Brands that mastered the meme game

This section will show you some real interesting and funny brand meme posts. The first one is Netflix.

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By using various funny and relatable memes during the release of BirdBox, Netflix reported that this was their best seven-day film ever. Although the movie was a serious one, they still were able to create the buzz by making super funny memes.

Ruffles Flamin’ Hot
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This is still one of the most famous memes and we can’t get over this one, right? Ruffles cleverly leveraged the opportunity and came up with an amazing meme that doesn’t need any explanations.

Gucci
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GUCCI is that one luxury brand which breaks the barriers and proves that any brand can set the context right when it comes to memes. They understand the reach of pop culture and strategically uses it to reach the audience. Check-out other ways Gucci is empowering its customer experience.

Big Bazaar
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They promoted their ongoing SALE through multiple memes that took over the internet immediately. They intended to create snacky content and reach a wider audience.

Alt Balaji
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Remember the phase of JCB meme when the only thing we saw on the net was JCB with funny captions. Alt Balaji wisely leveraged the trend to promote their new series. Take a look at their caption.

Brand Factory
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They came up with multiple funny memes to engage with a wider audience and create great brand recalls.

With Great work, comes Great responsibility. Greater with Memes.

We know everything looks very intriguing and enchanting, but one wrong meme and baam! Your brand can suffer.

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So it’s extremely important to understand your industry and audience before adapting to the meme as a marketing strategy since it can muddle up the communication and create a bad impression of the brands.

And if it’s part of the brand marketing strategy, it’s also crucial to use relevant resources and creative minds to create quality content because remember not everything gets viral in the jumbled world of the internet.

Author

The author of this piece is Bhawana Dwivedi, a recent pass-out of Goa Institute of Management (GIM). If this piece made you smile, share it with your best friend on WhatsApp. What is the funniest brand meme you have ever seen? Send it across on this post on LinkedIn.

Follow us on LinkedIn if you found value in our content – or if at least we made you laugh.

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