Last updated on 27th September 2023
In this article we’re going to cover everything you need to know about meme marketing, including 20 hilarious examples!
Memes are the hieroglyphs of the internet. On the surface, they’re just funny images. But they’re actually a way for people to express a whole range of emotions. And they’re relatable and shareable too.
According to The NYU Dispatch, traditional marketing graphics have 5% engagement while memes can yield 60% organic engagement with ten times higher reach.
So if you haven’t already implemented memes into your social media marketing strategy then now is the time to start.
With that said, let’s take a look at what meme marketing is, the benefits, some top tips, and 20 hilarious examples!
What is meme marketing?
A meme is a funny image, video or GIF paired with a text statement. The entertainment value of this medium makes the content highly shareable and this is why memes can often go viral.
Meme marketing is where brands take popular memes and adjust the text statement to be more relevant to their brand, whilst still being funny and retaining the original meme characteristics. Meme marketing is a powerful tool that helps brands to fulfil marketing goals, such as spreading awareness or promoting a brand or product.
Benefits of meme marketing
1. Low effort, high rewards
The most popular memes are usually already out there in the universe, so all you have to do is think of a way to relate those to your products and repost them! You can tweak existing memes or create your own (more on that later).
So, all in all, memes are really low in effort but high in rewards as they’re super sharable and people love to engage with them.
2. Appeal to younger audiences
If you want to appeal to younger audiences on social media, then memes are a must.
According to a report by YPulse, 38% of young adults follow meme accounts on social media and almost 55% of consumers in the age bracket of 13-35 send memes every week.
3. They’re relevant
One of the possible negatives of memes is that they have a short lifespan. A meme becomes popular, is shared profusely, and then is forgotten as the world moves on to another.
However, that’s perfect for social media. Social media is fast moving. People want to see what’s relevant, what’s trending, and then they move on to the next thing.
Memes are a quick and easy way to keep up to date on social media and represent your brand as current, in-the-know, and relevant.
20 Hilarious examples of meme marketing
Netflix is most popular with audiences under the age of 35, so it should come as no surprise that they often use meme marketing as a way of connecting with their young viewers.
As a video streaming service, Netflix has an almost limitless amount of content that translates well to memes, like the above example that uses a shot from their popular series, YOU.
2. Diamond Express Travels
Diamond Express Travels is a travel agency that creates curated vacation experiences. The meme they have shared here is a popular template, “the job interview”.
At first glance, it could be difficult to find a way for “the job interview” meme to translate to a travel agency’s Instagram page, but they’ve edited the text in a way that shines a spotlight on their brand.
This is another great example of a brand taking a popular meme and switching it up so that it relates to their brand.
The image used here by Dominos is an edit of the album cover for Drake’s Certified Lover Boy – which was memed pretty much as soon as it was released.
Dominos jumped on the trend fast (speed is everything on social media!) by editing the image to include their famous garlic dip.
4. Simple Skincare
Cute puppy + relatability = stellar meme content.
Simple Skincare created hype for their products with this simple yet brilliant meme. This twist on the popular “front-facing camera dog” meme is a great way to get customers excited about their upcoming deliveries and also give them a quick laugh too!
5. Knowsley Safari Park
Knowsley Safari Park used their very own meerkats in this funny Halloween meme. Holidays, from Halloween to Diwali to Christmas, are prime time for meme marketing – because they’re both timely and relatable.
This meme, in addition to being funny, also encourages people to book a trip to the safari park over the Halloween season.
6. Dollar Shave club
This meme does a superb job of promoting their bluntly named “Ball Spray” by showing a funny scene with the characters from the popular movie Spirited Away, labelled to reflect the effectiveness of the product.
Ah, baby Yoda. Overnight, this cute little character was everywhere. This Google Trends report says it all:
Yappy is a store that makes tailor-made products for dogs, and they combined two popular meme structures here (an edited image of baby Yoda and the “Nobody” gag) to create this hilariously relatable image for their potential customers (people who are obsessed with their dogs).
8. Purity Coffee
Purity Coffee attracted a lot of attention from their followers with this hilarious meme.
This screenshot of Will Smith pulling a disgusted face along with the text that Purity Coffee has added makes for a meme that hits all the right notes: it’s funny, relatable, and boosts their brand in a way that doesn’t belittle other coffee brands.
Sometimes simplicity is key. This meme shared by Celebrations uses emojis to get across how people feel about their products.
It’s a pretty bold move but one that captures the feelings of their current customers and also sparks the interest of potential new customers.
McDonalds took their meme marketing strategy in a different direction with this post – they decided to make fun of themselves!
This kind of self-deprecating humour is exactly what memes were made for and definitely appeals to younger audiences like millennials and Gen Z.
SparkNotes is a website that helps students better understand literature through study guides, book summaries, and analysis. They also offer study guides for standardised tests and academic subjects. It’s free to use and popular among students and teachers.
SparkNotes uses memes in their Instagram marketing strategy to make learning more fun and engaging. By incorporating memes into their content, SparkNotes can connect with their audience in a more lighthearted and approachable way – encouraging a love of reading and study in a way that’s humorous and entertaining, rather than stuffy and preachy.
Like ASOS, Audible has also used a currently popular meme to promote their products, the “spooky skeleton”. The difference is that they’ve edited the text so that it specifically applies to their brand.
This is a great example of how brands can take memes that at first appear like they aren’t going to relate well to their products, but can completely change that by adding some new text.
13. Candy Kittens
Candy Kittens is a brand that specialises in making vegan sweets. This meme allows them to get across their brand values in a way that feels humorous and fun, as opposed to preachy.
14. Natural Cycles
Natural Cycles took a bit of a risk with this video meme, but if the tons of laughing emojis in the comments are anything to go by then it certainly paid off!
Pairing this famous clip from The Shining with a dark joke about periods is a great way for the brand to attract attention and get people talking about their products.
“Me, Also Me” is one of the most perfect meme formats out there and Starbucks has used it in a funny way that also gets people thinking and talking about their products.
The “Me, Also Me” meme plays on the thoughts and feelings we have about the person we want to be, and then makes a joke about the person we currently are. Here’s a hilarious example:
The key factor that makes these memes funny is relatability, so if you want to use this format then think about how people use your products and play on that, like Starbucks did!
When launching a new line or products, you could post a generic announcement or you could do what Dunkin has done here.
Using the “Me” meme (just like Starbucks above) is a great way to relate to your followers and allows you to market your products without being pushy.
Nickelodeon created and shared this funny side by side meme to promote the release of Star Trek: Prodigy on their streaming service.
Like Netflix, Nickelodeon has a huge cast of characters that they can use to create hilarious memes that they know their fans will love.
For this star-themed meme, they of course turned to Patrick Star, a hugely popular character from their biggest show to date, Spongebob Squarepants.
Dogs pull some funny faces, making them great subjects for meme content. This meme shared by Barkbox is a pretty popular one that you may have seen before.
Barkbox is a monthly subscription service for dog products, like toys and treats – so this meme is a perfect match for their social media page. All they had to do was copy, paste, post, and watch the likes and comments roll in!
“Sorry I have plans” is another popular meme format that involves people sharing what their plans are (usually relaxing, sleeping, or another form of self care).
Nail polish brand OPI used this format to create a meme that gets followers excited about using their products, and potentially buying their products.
20. G Fuel
When YouTube removed their dislike button it sent shockwaves around the internet. G Fuel used this to their advantage by hopping on this trending topic to create a meme that would get attention and also get people talking.
Although on the surface it doesn’t look like this meme will actually boost sales or generate any kind of ROI for G Fuel, it definitely pushes them to the top of people’s minds and also creates a solidarity with those who feel the same way as G Fuel on this matter.
How to create your own marketing memes
When it comes to meme marketing, sometimes “copy and paste” won’t cut it. Tweaking existing memes so that they relate to your brand, or even making your own memes, is a great way to stand out on social media.
And it’s really easy to do with online meme generators, like imgflip. Imgflip allows you to search for popular memes and edit them to suit your brand:
You can also create your own meme by clicking “Upload new template”, uploading your image, and then adding your text:
5 Meme marketing tips
1. Make sure you understand memes
As mentioned above, memes are very much aimed at younger generations. And there’s nothing cringier than trying to fit in with young people and getting it wrong.
Make sure you follow the unwritten rules of memes: keep it short, keep it clear, keep the original intent.
2. Link memes to your brand
Everything you do should always link back to your brand, and that includes meme marketing.
Sure, there could be a hilarious meme circulating that you’re dying to post to your social media pages, but if it doesn’t have a connection to your brand then it could confuse your followers as to what your brand is all about.
What you can do is edit memes so that they do relate to your brand, products, or industry.
This is what’s going to elevate them from a random social media post to a useful marketing tool for your business.
3. Don’t be offensive
Creating and sharing memes can be a lot of fun. But be sure you don’t get carried away and take your joke too far.
Before you post a meme, take a step back and evaluate it to make sure it doesn’t include any offensive language or make fun of a particular group.
4. Take part in meme challenges
Every now and then a meme challenge will come along and it’s a good idea to get involved with these if you can as they tend to get more traction. Here’s an example of the “10 year challenge” meme that was circulating around the end of 2019:
Another popular meme challenge is “how it started vs. how it’s going”:
Keep a lookout for new challenges and think of imaginative ways to get involved.
5. Don’t overdo it
Memes are fun, sure. But don’t overdo it. Your social media content should always be varied and interesting – especially on a visual medium like Instagram. An Instagram page full of memes isn’t necessarily visually pleasing.
Meme marketing is fun, inexpensive, and effective. So there’s no reason NOT to get involved!
Of course, when it comes to social media marketing you should always have a multi-pronged strategy – memes can only take you so far!
Interested in upping your social media game even more? Check out our article: Why Video is Exploding on Social Media.