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Memes, Online Marketing, and Social Listening: The Ultimate Guide


Table of Contents

The Internet Culture and Memes

Internet culture is weird, exciting, and exhilarating all at the same time. There’s no way to know what might go viral and when. From words to gestures, quotes to dance moves, tweets to Instagram reels, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

For instance, consider ‘the Josh Fight’. Held on 24th April 2021, the fight of the Joshes stemmed from a Facebook Messenger screenshot involving many users named Josh. They were provided with coordinates to Air Park, Lincoln, Nebraska where the Joshes met to fight for the right to use the Josh name.

What started as an internet meme culminated into an actual event where Joshes of all ages fought to win the right to the name. Almost 1,000 people showed up, at least 50 of them named Josh, pushing internet culture to new heights. The winner was a four-year-old named Josh Vinson Jr. who was – wait for it –  ordained with a Burger King paper crown!

What’s striking here is that Burger King used Social Listening to jump at the opportunity to plug their brand into what was a ‘silly’ meme come to life. But that has, for many years, been the new trope in marketing. Memes are a wonderful cultural phenomenon that’s truly universal. Like music, memes, too, create an ether of camaraderie, and consumer-facing brands adept at utilizing creativity for promotion always nail the practice.

In this blog, we’ll look at some creative and funny ways in which brands use memes to market products and services and why Social Listening matters.

The monolith

Remember that time a monolith was discovered in the middle of a desert in Utah with the internet believing it’s been placed by aliens? Looking like the monolith straight out of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, people all over the world wondered what the structure might be but brands leveraged the trend using Social Listening with hilarious results.

Check out these hilarious tweets here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The great khali

The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion became an internet sensation after the comment section of his Instagram page went viral. Fans of the WWE Hall of Famer came up with hilarious, often NSFW comments that catapulted the Great Khali at the forefront of meme marketing with the wrestler’s Instagram account becoming a destination for brands to promote products.

Khali’s followers on the platform more than doubled from a million to two million within weeks!

From headphones and protein shakes to awareness campaigns for the Mumbai Police, Khali has become the go-to destination for big and small brands to promote products.

Check these out here, here, and here!

The ‘Pawri’ memes

Every year, there’s a meme that goes wild in the Indian Subcontinent with brands, influencers, and even celebrities jumping onto the trend to gain some traction. A few years ago, it was the Dancing Uncle memes and the memes about the guy terrified while paragliding.

The two persons in the abovementioned memes gained popularity on social media with their profiles gathering tens of thousands of followers from a few hundred. Similarly, this year, the ‘Pawri’ meme featuring Dananeer Mobeen – which was subsequently turned into a viral meme song by Yashraj Mukhate – presented another opportunity for brands to market themselves.

Check these out here, here, here, here, here, and here!

‘Dreams’ and ocean spray

In 2020, during the pandemic, a man named ​​Nathan Apodaca from Idaho, US posted a TikTok of himself skateboarding to work while lip-syncing Fleetwood Mac’s classic ‘Dreams’ and drinking Ocean Spray’s Cran-Raspberry juice.

Soon enough, the video went viral and amassed over 50 million views! The interesting thing is that not only did the video turn ‘Dreams’ into a viral hit climbing music charts around the world, it also made Ocean Spray’s Cran-Raspberry juice insanely popular.

The beverage brand took advantage of the situation and gifted Nathan a brand new pickup truck – loaded with their Cran-Raspberry juice – so he wouldn’t have to skateboard to work. Ocean Spray’s sales skyrocketed in the aftermath of the video, so it only seems fair.

As for Nathan, he now has brand new teeth and a new house and is getting married. And, to top it all, he hangs out with Snoop Dogg!

How it started vs. how’s it going

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. 2020 was a weird year, to put it mildly, and people wanted to express their feelings about how things started in 2020 as compared to how things are going. Brands, too, jumped on this trend. Here are a few examples (there are many!)

Check these out here and here!

The ‘Shweta’ memes

On Twitter India, a new meme surfaces every other day. One of the big meme trends following the ‘Pawri’ incident was the ‘Shweta’ memes. In an incident that occurred during an online class, a regular girl named Shweta forgot to mute her mic while chatting on the phone with a friend about a mutual friends’ relationship resulting in 111 people listening in on her conversation and the clip subsequently going viral.

Check these out here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The role of social listening

The internet is a place with fickle memory and short attention spans. New memes and trends emerge almost every day and brands have to leverage them to stay relevant & topical. Today’s young demographic connects with memes, but how do you achieve this?

The answer is through Social Listening. While marketers can be enthusiastic about internet culture, there’s no possible way to manually keep track of all trends that pop up. When you use Social Listening, you track industry trends, keywords, specific accounts, competitors, and influencers to always find trends pertinent to your brand. Once you have the data, the rest is taken care of by the creativity and humor of the marketing and social media teams.

How locobuzz helps

With Locobbuzz’s Social Listening and Brand Monitoring feature, you always stay on top of the latest trends. You can easily figure out what trends to hop on based on the sector your brand operates in.

Be it consumer goods, OTT platforms, music streaming, food delivery apps, restaurant, and hotel chains, airlines, or automobiles, meme marketing is for everyone, and, with Locobuzz, you can rest easy knowing you’re always ‘listening’ to the relevant online conversations to put your best foot forward and engage users in a way that enhances your brand voice, image, and awareness.

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