The usage of memes has transformed from being recreational to commercial – meme marketing has become an official medium of communication now.
Social media users always tend to avoid ads. But they can’t seem to avoid the fact that they can’t avoid ads on social media. They’re everywhere. Even creators have started including not so subtle brand pushes.
84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. That is a huge chunk of your audience. When you are pushing your products, you are not attracting them, you are pushing them away.
Social media platforms have given marketers and advertisers the ability to boost and promote campaigns through sponsored content. But, the audience doesn’t want a feed filled with ads and would probably skip it or scroll over.
Enter – Memes
So how do you advertise to the audience who doesn’t want to see ads? One of the effective methods is to turn the ad into a meme.
Memes can make anything popular. It can make an egg popular, it can make a movie popular, it can make a bag popular and it can also make your brand popular.
A meme is not just an image, video or a piece of text anymore. It has become the dialect of communication on social media and a form of advertising. Internet memes grew in the mid-1990s, evolved with the internet and video memes became popular with YouTube in 2005.
A trending image and a piece of text can do more than you’d expect. Feeling tired? Share a meme about it and people would know how you’re feeling, without you saying it.
Similarly, want to announce the offers you have available? Share a meme about it.
How Brands are using the Meme to promote
Brands have used memes as a vernacular to either promote their products or share instances that revolve around their brand.
Memes affect the psychology of your viewers and may transform your audience into your target audience. They also help the brand communicate with the users in their language, helping the brand appear as a pal.
Zomato targets feelings like being hungry (almost) all the time, hilarious instances shared between friends and family related to food while subtly sliding in their offers.
Like this one above, the meme visually shows the feelings provoked when you find out you have to pay the bill. They subtly also plugged in the certainty that they are offering a product for outdoor dining at a discounted rate.
The video was a part of their own advert, making the meme original. Although, they also keep up with topical trends and popular templates.
Comedy Central is another player in the game. Their stills from the catalog of shows that dominate pop culture are used for relatable references.
The hashtags #Pray_for_Nesamani and #Nesamani are trending on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. While the Tamils on social media are playing along with the hashtag and posting memes, many are left clueless. But, there are a few who have taken the hashtag seriously and praying for his good health.
Who is Contractor Nesamani?
Painting contractor Nesamani is a character played by Vadivelu in a Tamil movie titled Friends (2001). In a scene, Nesamani’s nephew, played by Ramesh Khanna, drops a hammer on Nesamani and then comes a set of hilarious consequences.
How it all began?
It all started with a post on a Facebook page Civil Engineering Learning. The page had posted an image of a hammer and asked What do you call this tool in your country?
One of the readers, Vigesh Prabakar, commented: “This is what we call Suthiyal. It will give “tung tung” sound when we blow with it on something. Painting contractor Nesamani’s head was broken in Jamin palace with this one by his nephew. Paavam.”
What happened then?
Following the hashtag, many Tamils on social media started memes based on the hashtag and the particular scene from the movie. And it becomes a worldwide trend
Using the opportunity, brands have also started playing along. Here are a few of them:
How to execute a Meme Marketing Campaign?
A meme is not an ad but can act like one. It is supposed to gain engagement but can also gain conversion.
Having a quick turnaround is a significant factor in determining the success of this strategy. The brand should have sufficient resources to create and put out memes in real-time, as we see a new topical wave almost every other day.
The perk you as a brand gain when you turn around briskly is the engagement you attain while the topic is trending and being spoken about widely.
Another important specification while executing this strategy is to create the memes in good taste. Destructive criticism or below the belt digs, attacks on gender, race, etc. should be avoided.
Such content may gain backlash and along with you losing your target audience, you may also lose the customer base you already have. The negative reactions may come at the same speed you wanted to gain positive ones.
Further to be successful, the memes need to be relevant and relatable, adding share value to it. You also need to understand that the meme shouldn’t be overly promotional. The thin edge of engaging and promotional is really thin but you need to learn how to walk on this edge of the sword.
So far, we’ve seen meme marketing through one tactic, now let’s explore a different tangent.
Brands also plant memes that promote themselves on meme pages that are relevant to them or have a lot of following, to increase their engagement and expanding their audience.
Most social media users follow a ton of meme pages. Planting memes(ads) relating to your brand through these pages, is a natural placement of an ad.
Though, the specifications like age, gender, geography, income, etc. of your target audience should coincide with the audience of the page you’re looking to distribute your content through.