Memes offer new opportunities for PRs and marketers

Brands need to define their approach to memes, according to a new report by Cast From Clay.

2016 was a year in which memes came into focus. From the trivial Mannequin Challenge to the ominous “Great Meme War” which shaped the US Presidential Election, via the more facetious Boaty McBoatface – memes had a major impact on the public debate.

The report, titled ‘Memes, Memes Everywhere’, explains that memes are the building blocks of culture. As such, they have been around for thousands of years. And Internet memes have been populating forums for years. What is new is the impact which they had on mainstream culture, culminating in their ‘weaponisation’ by the Trump campaign. 

The coordinated deployment of memes by Trump supporters between June 2015 and November 2016, through platforms like 4chan and Reddit, has changed the name of the political game. This campaign to influence the results of the election has been dubbed “the Great Meme War of 2016”.

Now the template exists, communicators need to be attuned to these developments. Meanwhile, brands need to consider and define their approach to this phenomenon. There will undoubtedly be rewards for those that get it right.

The report explores the ideas at the heart of memes, reviews the most popular memes, and makes recommendations about marketing with memes.

Quote:

Tom Hashemi, Director of Cast From Clay says:

“Memes are a great way for brands to engage with their target audiences. They can be funny, silly, whimsical, but also thoughtful and political. There are a few examples of brands using them well, but we’re surprised at how few are tapping into memes. 2017 is an opportunity to change that.”

Press notes:

  1. The report will be available at https://castfromclay.co.uk/models-research/full-report-meme-research-memes-everywhere/
  2. Cast From Clay is a research-driven design and communications agency. We build brands and visual identities, develop websites and online platforms, and advise on digital and social media.

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