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Using viral memes for marketing

Published December 17, 2014 at 8:12 am


Anyone who uses the Internet is likely familiar with the popular “memes” that rapidly make their way through social media. Because they are sharable and give instant viewing satisfaction, items like these are often clicked on and distributed. But can they be incorporated into standard advertising? Starbucks seems to think so.

In order to advertise a contest with a $54,000 possible prize value, the famous coffee brand created a television ad that simply looped a possible online gif over and over. The animated image shows a clip from the popular sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” synced up to Tom Jones’ famous song “It’s Not Unusual.” It’s a reference to a scene from the show that fans will undoubtedly be familiar with and likely respond to. Helpful text explains the parameters of the contest to the viewer while the clip repeats over and over.

Writing for LifeHealthPro, Lynette Gil says this is uncharted territory for marketing, because it takes something that is already viral and uses it in a new medium.

“This just goes to prove how social media is shaping everything,” Gil writes. “And how big brands are coordinating their marketing campaigns with their social media strategy.” She later describes the ad as “a very simple form of marketing that is fairly unexplored and sure to resonate with millennials and social media junkies everywhere.”

Your business may not choose to draw from an existing meme to make its marketing materials relevant, but it can still pay attention to trends on social media for greater success. More importantly, you can use marketing campaign management to synchronize all of your different strategies together and make sure that every channel works harmoniously with each other. This can include being more conscious of the content of social ads.

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