By: Julia Henson
With the popularity of memes on the rise, brands love to incorporate their products in them. However, sometimes they can backfire for the company and turns into something it shouldn’t have. There are countless times where brands have made memes to relate to users on social media and ends up being cancelled. This leads me to ask the question: Are memes a good way for brands to market on social media?
It is important for brands to know how to deal with memes failing. A Crisis Communications Plan is something that is imperative for social media strategy. According to Rock Dove Solutions crisis communications “Refers to the technologies, systems and protocols that enable an organization to effectively communicate during a major threat to its business or reputation.” Brands need to be prepared for all kinds of potential crises and how to deal with them.
The rise of memes has been popularized on almost all social media apps. Now, it is a way for brands to relate to social media and advertise their products. Business News Daily, has a great description of what memes are and how they can either benefit or be a drawback for brands. There are many companies that have problems with using existing memes to try and build their brand and problems with creating memes that become controversial.
Most of the examples I found have backfired for the brand. One example is when FAFSA tweeted “Help me I’m poor,” to reference a movie. This meme received a lot of backlash because FAFSA is a financial aid for students in college. FAFSA assumed that people who need their service is poor and cannot pay for education. Another example is from Burger King. During International Women’s Day, they did the same thing; trying to hop on the trend. Both of these companies tweeted these tweets as “memes” to be funny and relate to users.
Although memes start a trend, overall, it can potentially hurt the brand. People on social media tend to have no filter and are not afraid to share their opinion. There are many more examples of when brands tried to create a meme and it backfired. Brands do take care of these memes but putting out an apology for it and deleting the meme. However, I do think it is sad to see that these memes/tweets do not always cancel a brand. Most of the time you see social media users reusing the meme and giving the brand more attention. Are there any ways brands can use memes without getting some kind of backlash?