Content that goes viral is the secret dream of all web marketers! But can we really consider internet memes (or memes, without an accent, not everyone agrees…) as viral stories?
In any case, this is what the definition given here last December by Laurent GestaZ the DGA of the Australia agency suggests:
“In geek terms, a meme is a UFO or Viral Object No Identified, we do not know where it started, who started but in the end it makes a maximum audience for a minimum of euros… in fact one could say that it is an advertiser’s dream.”
All the ambiguity of memes is summed up in this definition and it is precisely because of this ambiguity that we cannot, in my opinion, consider memes as viral stories like any other.
Just more of the same…
Viral content is the same content that, in a short period of time, is shared exponentially on social networks, without being modified. To take the first example that comes to mind, it’s typically the video of Intermarche’s last ad , #lamourlamour, which has been a hit on Facebook since mid-March with more than 8.5 million views, 63,000 reactions and over 36,000 shares. It’s a very nice textbook case which brilliantly brings together two major ingredients of virality – emotion (s) & narration – and which achieves the rather improbable feat of making millennials listen to 3 minutes of Mouloudji! Since then, according to Culture Pub, the song would experience a new lease of life on listening platforms and would be No.
So this is typical viral content. We are never quite sure that it will work, or how big it can take, but we know more or less the recipe and it can be made from scratch.
On the other hand, I challenge you, as a brand, to deliberately trigger a meme-type phenomenon. This just isn’t possible, for the good reason that a meme is first and foremost the unpredictable hijacking of existing content. You can always offer support to your community, but nothing will ever guarantee you:
1. that someone somewhere is going to take your visual, video, slogan, hashtag or other punchline and do something else with it;
2. that others will, in numbers if not in mass, follow suit with the first and proceed to their own diversions. A real meme is multiple, otherwise it’s a lot less funny and, sociologically speaking, a lot less interesting.
Internet memes: Hidden parentage and a treasure hunt for insiders
This is why, in my opinion, the meme is not and cannot be an object let alone a marketing objective. Unless you try to spot the memes that your content could have inspired and put them forward to reassociate them with your brand, real memes escape you, live their lives where you are not, tell stories that are no longer. yours, as shown in this example found here.
” When a meme evolves, it indeed often borrows elements from other previous memes – which quickly makes them incomprehensible to the uninitiated: in the example [above], the photograph of the dog is not understandable. that if one already knows “Ridiculously photogenic guy”
Basically, if memes fascinate us so much, it’s because they escape us. Pure pop culture phenomena, they open up an infinite space of freedom, muddled creativity and filialization that only the initiated know how to trace.
Internet memes: Variations around an animated gif
The presidential election campaign recently gave us a magnificent example of a meme. On March 15, a brief video sequence of an interview with candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon on Europe1 was facetiously transformed into an animated gif.
Posted on Twitter along with the hashtag #MelenchonReaction, it resulted in an impressive string of covers, with campaign captions some of which are very funny. There are also covers that have nothing to do with politics. If they are often less funny (and sometimes, let’s say it, downright null), they testify to a strong appropriation by the twittersphere, Viral stories, beyond, it seems to me, the only supporters of the candidate.
The thing took on such a scale that the phenomenon was noticed and repeated the same day by several media, including 20 minutes and the Huffington Post, for once – the takeover by the major media websites – it is the ultimate dream for a social marketer, because it will inevitably raise the machine.
The next day, we saw a best-of on Hitek . And, while this kind of runaway often subsides quite quickly, it didn’t stop there: A week later, memes continued to flourish on Twitter, incorporating the most recent elements of the campaign, in some cases with a undeniable sophistication:
Very clever who could say to whom can be blamed for such a success. The candidate relies, of course, on a very large community, very committed and particularly creative, the image is funny, the expression is marked, but it could just as well cause a flop. That’s the beauty of memes: you never really know why they appear, or why they thrive.
Being a graphic designer by profession, one of my favorite memes is that graphic design is my passion.
And you, what are your favorite memes?