Is There Space for Memes in Marketing?
Boomers VS Zoomers
Growing up during the rise of social media wasn’t easy. On top of cyberbullying and internet creeps, us kids had to deal with the added trauma of old folks trying to speak our language using what we commonly refer to as memes. It started in grade school when teachers caught wind of the numerous inside jokes being passed from cellphone to cellphone as hushed giggles floated throughout the classrooms and hallways. Their confusion was only fuel for our laughter.
As older generations caught on to our viral internet culture, they saw an opportunity to use memes as a method of relating to my generation of young Millennials and Gen Zers. Thus, we were bombarded by big businesses using social media as a way to market to “the kids.” I’m sure you remember the Wendy’s Twitter account clapping back at customers, multiple poorly photoshopped Nyan cats zipping through Honda advertisements, and ungodly amounts of rage comics using phrases including, but not limited to, "selfie," "like a boss," "ain’t nobody got time for that," and "YOLO."
Of course, we get it. We see their intentions and understand where they are coming from. But, when companies use these cheap tactics in order to “relate” to their younger audience, it’s more than just cringeworthy; it’s bad marketing.
Solving the Meme-stery
How do we bridge this awkward gap between the oldies and youngins? The whole point of using humor as a marketing strategy fits into the larger umbrella of empathy. Our purpose as the voice of our company is to not only recognize our humanity, but the humanity of our audience. When we take the time to listen and engage with people, we will understand what they need and want to hear from us.
Large brands that fail at their attempts of relatable humor is a true indicator that they don’t know their platform or audience. Imagine a world where businesses were truly listening to their customers and we didn’t have to suffer the second-hand embarrassment of watching another company ruin a good joke.
Join the Conversation
What can your business do to enhance how you listen to your audience?