It seems like every third or fourth post on my social feeds, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or any other platform is a meme. Typically comical but often insightful, these visual puns and tongue-in-cheek images invoke an emotional response from many. Whether it’s a laugh or introspection. Memes have dominated social media for many years now. And there has been a growing impact and emphasis on their usage. And that usage isn’t limited to the recreational user. Companies and brands of all sizes from across the globe have begun to slowly embrace the effectiveness of memes. And they are slowly beginning to leverage that effectiveness into their marketing ecosystem.

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You win some, you lose some…

As brands and corporations begin dipping their toes into the waters of meme usage, it’s fair to assume there is a learning curve of sorts. Some brands have taken this opportune moment to experiment with new and engaging ways to improve their reach and visibility. There is inherent risk involved with marketing experimentation. Many brands have been slow to adopt these more modern approaches to marketing, particularly memes, because of perceived limitations in maintaining brand image. Companies have been historically wary with incorporating millennial humor into their marketing efforts. This has been particularly true with legacy brands. Yet a brave few, such as fashion icon Gucci, adopted pop culture trends early in the game. This tweet from 2016 is an example.

me vs the guy she says I shouldn't worry about tweet from Gucci

Effective marketing is creating current and relatable content that appeals to your target demographic. And if some or all of your core demographic falls into the millennial age group, memes are incredibly relevant on social platforms. And an abundant source of content if I may add. As seen above, Gucci took a trending catchphrase and applied that dialogue to images of their products, presented as an object of ire over its competitors. Though mildly edgy, the sentiment was current to the young fashion conscious demographic. Its premise was trendy, the message tongue-in-cheek, and decently executed. It graced the boundary of mold-breaking marketing without crossing the line of the common person’s values and sensibilities. But the promotion was met with mixed reviews. Some thought a brand like Gucci, who is always on the cutting edge of creating trends and styles, was reaching. Many went as far as calling it pandering.

The fails

Other reputable brands fell flat in their initial adoption of meme marketing as well. And for some reason, restaurant chains seemed to be the most susceptible early on. IHOP, for example, made a failed attempt at being relevant by incorporating risque subject matter in meme style to promote their pancakes. The promotion ended up being an example of meme marketing gone wrong. It was written in poor taste and offended many online.

controversial tweet from IHOP

Italian food chain Olive Garden made a desperate attempt to reach the millennial market with a poorly executed ploy to incorporate the hottest catchphrase of the moment into the wording of one of their trademark menu items. The outcome was not widely praised, to say the least. General public perception was that the post felt forced and desperate, especially considering the word ‘bae’ is certainly not well extracted from the word ‘breadsticks’.

you can't spell breadsticks without 'bae' tweet from Olive Garden

But as time has gone on over the past couple of years, companies have found ways to implement meme marketing effectively. In turn, other companies who may have been hesitant in the past are now opening their minds to the idea. As a result, many companies are seeing success in doing so. And those results only further prove the model more with each passing day.

How Viral Nation has won with meme marketing

Here at Viral Nation, we have seen great success in implementing meme marketing into our influencer campaigns. Leveraging pop culture trends is simply one piece of the puzzle. Knowing how to weave the most fitting and engaging content and dialogue into the campaign is absolutely paramount to its success.

Viral Nation recently did a campaign with Facemoji, a utility app company whose emoji keyboard is very popular internationally. This past June for Pride Month, Viral Nation teamed up with influencers Shea Coulee, Naomi Smalls, and Kim Chi from the hit television series ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. The former contestants on the show were commissioned to create meme style videos to pair with Facemoji’s latest features and then distributed through each influencers’ social account as well as applicable social media theme pages (like Sarcasm Only and Bye Felipe, to name a couple).

Viral Nation has also deployed meme marketing with our client, and to great avail. In a recent campaign, Viral Nation infused meme humor and imagery into a promotion to attract new sign-ups for the popular dating app. Sourcing pop culture trends and applying data-driven strategy to the posting content consistently drove tangible results for app sign-ups.

The numbers don’t lie

The results of the Pridemoji campaign, in particular, were astounding. The 3 influencers collectively posted 5 Instagram Stories that generated over 1.5 million views, and nearly 14,00o post clicks to the App Store. And that was just from the influencers social accounts. The theme page statistics only helped to shine an even brighter light on the success of the campaign. Theme page views soared to over 5 million in total, with over 16,000 link clicks to boot. As a whole, the Pridemoji campaign generated over 6.7 million views and about 30,000 post clicks for it’s Pride month campaign.

While views are fine and dandy, companies and brands are all about ROI. So what type of results in terms of conversion did this campaign generate? Well, the numbers speak for themselves. Before the start of the Pridemoji campaign, Facemoji was ranked in the top 250 apps on the market. Penetrating the top 200 is quite a feat for any app in today’s saturated market landscape.

Viral Nation’s ability to create data-driven influencer campaigns, combined with an unprecedented volume of influencer relationships, pushed the needle for Facemoji and the Pridemoji campaign. Doubling as content creators, Viral Nation’s creative team and their contributions to Pridemoji resulted in a jaw-dropping increase in app ranking. Within 3 days of the campaign kickoff, the Facemoji app jumped a staggering 100 spots in the App Store rankings, peaking at an uptick of 137 spots total. Investing in an influencer marketing agency, particularly the usage of meinfleme’s, gives your brand a prime opportunity to both appeal to your target audience while finding a unique and creative approach to broadcast your message in a relatable fashion. Viral Nation specializes in these types of campaigns and has a track record of success that far surpasses expectations. And as always, maintain a keen eye on ROI.

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