The Meme

A Meme can essentially be described as an idea or habit which is shared between people through imitation. In common language, the internet meme has become synonymous with the meme ever since its enormous online popularity (Sharma, 2018). However, there is a difference in modern-day memes or internet memes, and how they originally were defined.

The concept of a meme was originally coined by Richard Dawkins (1976 cited in Knobel, 2006) in his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene”. Here, Dawkins defines a meme as a biological function of evolution. It is described as a behavior or idea which, because of its popularity and common likability, is shared and imitated within cultures and, in turn, increases the chance of evolutionary survival.

What Makes a Marketing Meme Viral

The modern competitive social media scene that is often like a battlefield of companies promoting their brands. They are in constant competition who is going to shout the loudest and pay more for advertising.

And here come the memes – the antidote to branded content that gets in your face.

The best ones are hilarious, with relatable imagery often taken from pop culture, and makes you want to share it.

That’s pretty much the recipe for a good meme, right there, you’re welcome. There used to be a saying in the Roman Empire that said: “People anxiously desire bread and circuses.” It alludes to our constant craving for entertainment and if it’s packed as a sweet, snackable content on their news feed, even better.

Memes could seem like the much cheaper alternative of paying for content writing services. What makes it look so? A simple fact: when it comes to social media, people are much more likely to share a funny image that has little to no text than a branded and sponsored message.

We rarely want to be associated with brands online, but we always want our friends to think we are funny. Memes just facilitate the latter.

Is there any value in using memes in online advertising?

Memes today are a quick way to add color to different situations or promote certain ideas in a way that most people in a specific audience will immediately recognize. With so much clamoring for our attention online, it’s easy to see why using a quick cultural reference to express a message faster is catching on.

Some brands who are getting memes in marketing right


Gucci Meme Campaign


#tfwgucci or ‘The Feel When Gucci’ caused a big splash in the marketing world, mostly because it’s miles off-brand for the historically luxurious Italian fashion house.


Hello Social Marketing Meme


Hello, Social is a Sydney based digital agency who’ve used memejacking to spark conversation within the marketing industry. Memejacking is when you manipulate the meme to convey a message specific to your company, which in Hello Social’s case is the marketing industry.


Memes can be a powerful marketing tool, especially when you’re trying to break through to the advertisement adverse digital generation. As long as they’re relevant, natural, and convey the brand message you want your audience to hear, it might be time to add memes to your marketing mix.

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