memes and marketing

Even though it’s only recently become a widely-used term (and a lot of people still don’t know where it came from) meme is

Obama meme

actually a phrase coined in the 1970s by well-known atheist Richard Dawkins as a method of describing the way cultural information is passed on in ‘The Selfish Gene’.

Now though, meme tends to be used as a way to describe all those funny and random bits of viral content that quickly spread across the internet, from the cat videos and double rainbows to subtitled ‘Downfall’ parodies and the Harlem Shake.

Memes have been on the internet since the early days of message boards but, like everything else on online, their use has exploded over the last few years as they are easy to share in communities like Reddit and Tumblr, but also on Facebook and Twitter.

This is why marketers have grown to love them; they’re inherently social, they’re easy to share and they’re easy to create. With content marketing becoming more and more visual, memes are a perfect tool for marketers.

Blendtec’s ‘Will It Blend?’ campaign is a great example of a company creating a successful meme of their own. Virgin Media went another way and used an existing internet meme, using ‘Success Kid’ in an outdoor advertising campaign last year.

Virgin Media meme

Memes sum up everything marketers are aiming for with content marketing.

Plus, let’s face it, they’re just good fun…

Now watch HPS do the Harlem Shake!

Even our website is doing the Harlem Shake!


Martin Watts is Associate Director and Head of the Digital Team

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