3 minutes

Memes: So annoying, yet so amusing. So shallow, yet so clever.

These blurbs and captioned images are the evolution of newspaper comics (rip). No one knows exactly how they evolved to what they are today. But one thing is is for sure – they’re here to stay.

For many users on social media, especially Instagram, memes have insidiously taken over news feeds and have hijacked the attention of Millennials and Gen-Z’ers alike. Large meme accounts can produce dozens of posts a day. Many of which, receive the engagement they deserve by being funny, relatable, and or bold.

On Instagram, memes are primarily sent via Direct Message to friends in order to be seen. Bigger accounts are taking advantage of this mechanism by making their accounts private. Therefore, forcing the recipient to follow the account in order “unlock” what has been sent. Alternatively, individuals can mention their friends in the comments in order for them to share the impression. These actions have led to memes becoming the unconscious guarantee of getting a laugh whenever you check your phone.

So why should brands be present in this ecosystem?

Brands are now investing heavily into their own content strategies as a whole – it’s nothing new now at the end of 2019. From contests, giveaways, influencer takeovers and more … Unless you are throwing your brand out there in a truly unique way, it’s all seen as rather cookie cutter.

But memes are for the people, the individual, a space where cultural nuances get thrown around. One might say that it’s not where brands are normally found … Which is exactly why they should head in that direction.

Now, I am not implying that brands should begin to produce their own memes (although that could be an interesting experiment) but rather be active in the space.

Here is an example of a massive name taking advantage of this, which I have been observing for a few weeks now.

Bud Light.

Yep, that’s right. The world’s most unsophisticated beer is getting its hands dirty… Somewhere there’s a community manager to thank

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Middle Class Fancy is an Instagram meme page aimed at making fun of the bland, repeated, and generally unoriginal tastes found in caucasian middle class culture. Its audience has skyrocketed over the last year due to many of its memes ringing true with those who fit, or can relate with the demographic.

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As you can see in the memes above, Bud Light chimes in for any content that pokes fun at the light beer and its popularity. And thanks to the current algorithm, Bud Light attains the number 1 spot in the comments due to its large audience.

What’s more important than that BL is commenting is how they are commenting. They are communicating like a friend or individual user … Not a product that’s worth 7.4 billion USD.

Now I can’t guarantee that all of the 1.2 million followers of Middle Class Fancy are seeing BL’s comments. However, even if that rate is 25%, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of impressions. Individuals are seeing the brand communicate in a personable and “down to earth” manner. This is huge for both brand awareness and brand personality.

And the kicker? Bud Light has picked a meme page that directly targets those within its buyer’s persona. In other words, the meme page is doing 99.99% of the work for them.

You can see where I am going here.

By brands acting as an individual and using a language others can relate to, you are not only advertising your name but also you brand’s voice. And today’s meme culture is both an easy and creative way to leverage that.

It will be interesting to see whether other large names will adopt this method of community engagement and if so, in what fashion?

J.

Categories: Branding