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Can meme marketing affect brand negatively?

Can meme marketing affect brand negatively?

Just for the record, it’s pronounced /miːm/ (meem), not me me.

Meme Marketing

Known for their funny and unique humor, memes that started off as inside and funny jokes, are long being used by brands to boost their social media following.

As memes span faster and roll with trends, they tend to get more attention in less time. Hence, there are increasingly new ones trending every day. People enjoy a good laugh, and they will not hesitate to be loyal to brands that make them feel relatable.

As a digital marketing strategy, businesses often use memes to market their products, raise awareness, engage with their audience, and increase engagement. Whether it is Drake’s ‘Nah Yeah’ or Khaby Lame’s ‘no-word sarcasm’, brands use it all to connect with their audience.

Just as we are *attempting* to connect with you now!

Meme will Work

Surely, memes do feel tempting while marketing the business online. Well not exactly! Even they can have repercussions and can be a miss instead of a hit.

Memes Get Stale, Extremely Fast
Yes, it does!

Memes are incredibly short-lived, lasting from a month or two to a few weeks to even just a few days.

Therefore, relying heavily on a fixed trend or just a meme is a bad idea. Meme marketing targets a younger audience who are aware. And because of this, it is a straight turn-off for the audience to see a long-gone trend being adopted by brands.

Instagram user @bymayuuu posted the question “Show us your name in Urban Dictionary” which quickly became viral with over two million responses.


This was a cool trend, but it is getting old now. Doing this trend after one month, or even two weeks of today will not be as buzzy as it should be.

Brands need to be up-to-date with regular trends on social media or have a team that is updated with a pop culture which ensures that memes are fresh and gain that spotlight.

They are Not as Engaging as You Think
Meme marketing evolves every day!

Memes have their own worth, distinct from brands. However, they are not long-term engaging to any target audience.

Lame Meme

It is possible for brands that have little or no experience with social media to learn about memes via major news and attempt to mimic one they do not fully understand.

It makes a brand look desperate, and eventually, the connection falls apart.

Popular Image Memes are Protected Legally
Pictures or videos of popular events are usually used to make memes. However, brands need to be cautious with the images they use, no matter how much they want to.

There are legal risks to using memes that are not created in-house.

For example, we have seen a lot of memes made from picture of a boy playing on the beach with a fistful of sand. Now! Did you know that the boy’s mother has threatened legal action for brands if used without permission?

One mistake can put all your digital marketing campaign efforts at risk and cost your company a lot of money.

Imagine creating a meme that you feel, will go viral. And it did go viral but trolling you. A MEME WAR!

Using an inappropriate meme might lead to unfollowing and attracting online trolls who make fun of brands that also use memes.

Daraz Nepal and SastoDeal are rivals in the e-commerce space. At one point, they both got into a meme war.

Daraz Nepal mocked Sastodeal with meme on social media for stealing their photo and charging more for the same product.

“Maybe not copy our images next time? Get a better deal at #DarazDashainDhamaka at just Rs. 2650.”

It wasn’t long before Sastodeal responded with its own witty comeback with a caption.

“Oops!….we screwed up our images but not our deals. BID DEAL@ SASTODEAL happening now!”

Daraz Vs Sasto Deal Meme

While both brands benefited equally from the Meme War, there was also a third contestant – Durbarmart – who utilized this war to its fullest effect. Notice ‘Free Delivery’.

Durbar Mart Meme

Memes and marketing require understanding on multiple levels. To make the best use of them, one needs to be aware of some of the risks involved. This meme war could have gone wrong badly, but we can say that the marketing teams of the respective brands are genius.

The Backfire – Consumer’s reaction on ethical grounds

I) Glow and Lovely
Previously known as ‘Fair and Lovely’, the brand has been the subject of internet memes because it promoted negative stereotypes about dark skin tones.

Fair And Lovely Meme
Fair and Lovely Meme

ii) Lays
In addition to providing us with a tasty snack, Lays provides us with a gift.

The AIR!

Lays Meme
Lays Marketing

iii) Apple
Known for its soaring prices for simple gadgets or not including a charger with its products, Apple has been trolled many times over the years.

Apple Meme
Apple Marketing

Can memes be used to promote your brand? Can they be used as part of a digital marketing campaign?

Let Technorio handle this and market your business in an appropriate way. We have amazing team with great humor.

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