Meme Marketing

How Companies Are Using Memes and Sarcasm to Market to Millennials

By: Schuyler Swanson

In today’s world, technology is king, and the rapid ways in which it has transformed society and life as we know it can be seen everywhere. From self-driving cars to online shopping to electronic toothbrushes, just about every aspect of our lives seems to have been made easier thanks to technology. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Changes brought on by this new technological age have in some ways made things easier for marketers and in other ways made things much more difficult. While reaching consumers has perhaps never been easier in the history of mankind, getting people’s attention on the other hand, is proving to be much harder. The ease of getting information to the consumer has led to consumer’s getting bombarded with so much information they don’t know what to do with it, let alone are able to hardly process it all. According to a 2017 article on Forbes by Jon Simpson, Americans see an average of anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. After reading that number, think to yourself, what was the last 10 ads you saw? Most people probably won’t be able to remember, and that is why attention is so valuable for marketers today. Another problem marketers have been experiencing in this new age is marketing to millennials. A generation who grew up with technology and online advertisements, marketers have had to evolve to adapt to this new generation. There is a great infographic on the USC Dornsife website that breaks down a lot of the ways in which millennials differ from previous generations. A couple of stats that stand out are that when compared to Generation X and the Baby Boomers, millennials make up the smallest percentage of radio listeners, spend the least amount of time watching television, and make up the smallest percentage of magazine and newspaper readers. On the flip side, almost 90 percent of millennials spend time on social media and 82 percent of them interact with brands or retailers on social media. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of millennials follow their favorite brands or retailers on social media and another 38 percent discover brands or retailers on social media. If these numbers are any indicator, the key to reaching millennials may very well be through social media, but it can be a tricky path to take. Appealing to and garnering the attention of millennials on social media platforms while not coming off as robotic, out of touch, or ‘trying too hard’ takes careful balance and a solid understanding of millennial culture, millennial humor, and how millennials think. There have been a few big brands recently, most notably fast food restaurants such as Wendy’s and Burger King, who have been able to pull this off on Twitter using memes, trending jokes, and lots of sarcasm with tremendous amounts of success. Below I have a few of my recent favorite tweets from brands that were able to put up some pretty big numbers.

One of the advantages of brands using social media is the ability and ease it gives them to interact with consumers, customers, or fans almost instantly. This allows them to hear more customer complaints, answer more questions, and as we see here, have fun joking with fans. What’s amazing here is a two word response from SunnyD racked up over 78,000 retweets and 346,000 likes, bringing a lot of traffic and looks to the brand for little to no cost while making people laugh at the same time.

Social media can be a crazy place, and sometimes some of the things we see on there literally make absolutely no sense at all. That’s the humor in it though, it doesn’t have to make sense. Sometimes the more random the better, and Burger King fully embraced that with this tweet.

Another example of this is yet another SunnyD tweet seen above. Something else that is becoming more and more common in this sphere is big brands having regular conversations with other big brands. Not only is it comical to see Pop-Tarts and MoonPie having a random conversation with SunnyD, but it makes the brands appear more friendly, down to Earth, and human to the public.

      Perhaps no one has perfected using social media as a way to better reach millennials as Wendy’s has. They have steadily build up a reputation for roasting people, whether it be an ordinary customer or Mr. Peanut. Some of their tweets may appear to be pushing the boundaries of what we would normally consider is acceptable for a big brand to say in public but we are in a new age. Pushing the boundaries and breaking out of that stereotypical corporate mold helps brands stand out and appear rebellious, something that is very attractive to the younger aged millennials.

In conclusion, social media is likely to continue to play an important part in how brands market towards millennials. It is cheap, efficient, and a lot of the times you don’t even have to actually be promoting or advertising a specific product of yours to grab the attention of consumers. It is not always easy though, as one mishap can lead to a PR nightmare, so while it can be lighthearted and fun, marketing on social media still always needs to be taken as seriously as marketing on any other medium would. Additionally, social media, like technology in general, is always rapidly changing and evolving, so in order to keep the consumers attention on this platform, brands have to be in a constant state of change and development to keep up with the platform and target audiences.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/08/25/finding-brand-success-in-the-digital-world/#40b964e9626e

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Grow up and Read About Some Dragons

Cole Junso

As we get older, we forget who it is that we wanted to be; is that true? I think part of it is. I remember aspiring to be a famous author, professional basketball player, or well-known artist. A younger version of myself couldn’t find a reason why I wouldn’t be able to be all three. Now, I want to make sure that I have enough money to pay rent. My goals and aspirations have shifted over the years. However, some things about myself haven’t changed since then. I still have a wild imagination and want to make sure I have an impact on this world. Reading fiction has had a large impact on my life and these stories have always been my favorites to delve into, for a variety of reasons. Fantasy stories can play an important role in building critical thinking skills, empathy, and even help in finding positive role models.

Fiction can create scenarios we never even thought possible. This helps broaden a person’s imagination, which many times develops into creativity and helps apply critical thinking. This happens because not every story gives the reader a sense of closure. Sometimes, the reader is left only to their imagination about what could have happened after the last words on the final page. When reading we often think we know how a situation is going to play out and what the outcome might be. Maybe that comes from our experiences, things we have read in the past, or maybe we just have an expectation about how a story is supposed to move forward. I prefer a story in which I am not given that closure, then I am forced to use my imagination and come up with alternative outcomes. You’re given the perspective of multiple characters, and every single one has a different personality, motivation, and ending to their story. This helps build a sort of empathy for the characters in the story, which will hopefully translate to real world situations.  

Developing a sense of empathy for characters that may not exist in the real world seems like an odd concept, but characters in fictional stories almost always reflect real people. So, in a way, understanding fictional characters can give the reader insight on how people function in the real world, and how they may tend to hide their true feelings and emotions. Understanding that fact is important when working with other people and figuring out how to deal with different social situations. Fiction often presents the idea that not every person’s life is exactly what it seems to be on the outside. My experience reading fantasy novels has helped me improve upon how I treat people and taught me to handle situations with more sensitivity and, ultimately, more empathy. In fact, some of the most influential characters in fiction novels are the ones that have an immense amount of empathy. These types of personas that we read about could play a more important role in our day to day lives than we realize.   

Sometimes these fictional characters can give us, even as adults, people to look up to, someone to help mold our ideas of who it is that we want to be. An important step into what makes a human being successful, is the drive to always be better than you currently are. If I am constantly improving myself as a person, then ideally, I am improving my impact on the people around me. The characters that we find in fictional stories can be so influential that, as a reader, you find yourself caring for them. At times, it can feel like their decisions matter and you genuinely care about the choices they make. Luckily, a lot of stories end happily, and you see those characters in a positive light; good defeating evil seems to be a common theme. These role models, from tales that could never be true, carry their influence into the real world. The reader might strive to make more of an impact, just as their favorite hero did.

Reading is truly important. It has helped people calm down from tense situations and rest a little easier. It greatly enhances vocabulary and expands knowledge for all. For some people it has provided an escape from the real world and given them positive role models to follow. There are a multitude of obvious reasons to read books, and fiction stories should not be left out. Fantasy novels have improved my imagination and creativity, while helping me apply those skills to critical situations. I know and understand people a little more after diving into fiction. It has given me insight on how to best interact with others in various situations. Reading has given me positive people to look up to, admire and strive to simulate. Find a way to be better than you are already; pick up a book about old kings, magic, elves or dragons and remember the imagination that made being a kid so much fun.

Missoula, MT -Finding Community in the Nonprofit Community

Written by: Kayla Sheridan

The Missoula community has over 1,500 listed Nonprofit organizations!v

As donors and volunteers, we want to spend our dollar and time on causes that produce the most significant welfare gains. However, many of us actually spend our resources on the causes that we care about! Charity is exceptionally dependent on our own personal identities & Nonprofit sectors help create a culture within communities.

The Nonprofit sector in Missoula has more organizations per capita compared to almost all of the other cities in the United States. Wow! The majority of these organizations work hard to both engage and educate individuals on issues and opportunities in the community. For the most part, Nonprofits strive to make positive change, provide a sense of community, and help individuals create an identity. Our Nonprofits in Missoula are essential in sustaining our unique community here.

Below are steps you can take to help you find a Nonprofit you can support.

1)    Align Potential Organizations with Your Values
2)    Decide What Type of Good You Hope to Support
3)    Research Online
4)    Fill Your Experience Gap
5)    Search Social Media
6)    Exercise Your Options

For those in Missoula, I recommend this website to help you in your search for your Nonprofit community:
http://www.volunteermissoula.org/agency/index/?dir=ASC&orderby=agency_name

Nonprofits make change by bringing people together around a common goal! For anyone who needs to hear it, go find your Nonprofit community and help make your community a better place right now. In today’s tech-savvy world, it’s easier than ever to support your favorite Nonprofits.

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An Emotional Guide to the University Transfer Process, New School- Same You

By Teresa Zortman

I very distinctly remember being 18 and thinking “I have this figured out.” By “this,” I mean college, and by “figured out,” I really had no idea. The only thing that I knew was that I wanted to leave my suburban hometown, and become “a badass business woman.” With that specificity, what could go wrong? But what happens when you choose the ‘wrong’ place to spend the next four years at the expense of thousands of dollars? What if you are under contract as a student athlete? What if your instagram pictures at the beach make your friends red with envy? I hope that by sharing my transfer journey, at least one struggling college kid can resonate and understand that it is okay to take your college experience into your own hands. Your happiness is important, radical change isn’t the answer for everyone but for myself it was exactly what I needed.

A little about me

I grew up in a California suburb that has become known for the railroad running through it and the rice fields surrounding it. A great place to raise a family, being an hour from the Sierras and two from San Francisco. Pretty perfect for the matured adult, but pretty boring for the car-less teen. Luckily, I was a decent enough track and cross-country runner to get some collegiate attention. After a quick visit to Southern California and a scholarship offer, I was on my way to Los Angeles to start school in the fall, leaving my sleepy old hometown in the dust.

You do not have to be happy all the time, but it should be part of your experience

Have you ever seen the Spongebob episode where Squidward goes to a village of other Squidwards? He thinks it is perfect until he realizes that the days there do not vary or change, and everyone there is fine with that except him. Well, that’s what I felt like after four months in sunny Southern California. The beach is great, but the 10 miles to get there took 25-30 minutes because of traffic. I was running the sport I love, but the practice regimen was starting to break down my body. I had some nice friends, but at night I would still break down alone and cry. Somehow everyone was living in their paradise, except me. I wanted to like this place, I spent so much time telling people about how excited I was to go “Sunny, perfect SoCal” before I left home, I was sure it would pan out.

There came a day I realized that maybe I did not fit in at my current school. I sat and filled out transfer applications to various schools, but I could never send them. Shame that I was “giving up on my team” or that people from home would laugh at me since I was so sure when I left. I felt trapped. I tried to assimilate to the culture and every time it only made me realize even more that I did not fit in. With the way things were going at the moment, I was depressed, angsty, and no-where near the best version of myself. I had never quit something before, that’s why Cross-country and track had come naturally to me, but at some point my course needed to be corrected, so I opened up for that to happen.

When I stepped on the campus I knew

During the Summer, my family was taking our bi-annual trip to Montana. My younger brother was on the college search, so we stopped by University of Montana. An old friend from high school was attending the university and graciously gave us a tour. The tour was for my brother, but I fell in love. The campus lit something inside me the moment I stepped foot on the brick paved walkways. I continued to think of Missoula as we drove away and even when we got home. That was a feeling I hadn’t had before.

So, while sitting at my Southern California University, I applied, got in, and got a scholarship.

There’s no good way to tell everyone

As my second year in Southern California drew to close, the reality that I was leaving began to set in. People would ask me about housing arrangements for the next year, and I just smiled and said “oh yeah! Maybe we can do that!” I knew I had to tell everyone.

So I started with my closest friends.

They were more supportive than I could’ve even hoped for. I felt closer to them because they only wanted what was going to make me happy, if that meant a different school so be it.

Not long after telling them, the news spread on the track team like wildfire. I got people coming up to me asking if it was true, the cat was officially out of the bag. Some people surprised me with how supportive they were, some turned out to be hiding the same secret. One of my closest friendships was forged by the fire we went under for transferring out. I felt so loved by people who I would’ve never expected. For those people I am so grateful. Others were not as supportive, and still do not talk to me, but that was something I had to learn to be okay with. It strengthened me in patience and love so much that the depression and anger that lived in me no longer had a place to live, even if they felt entitled to be there.

It’s okay to doubt

Before I left, even though I had been accepted to UM and more and more details of the transfer had begun to come together, I still questioned my decision. I would love to say that it was ‘easy’ since I was clearly struggling, but the reality was I was living a life that I knew would be discontinued in a matter of months. After the good workouts, the beach visits, the good days, I truly questioned if I should just pull the plug on the transfer and gut it out. I remember breaking down on the phone with my Mom wishing that I would just know what the right choice would be, she simply said “you’ll end up where you are supposed to be.” As I sit here in my favorite coffee shop in Missoula, I can say she was right.

Where I am now

Almost everyday, my decision to come to University of Montana is affirmed. The University took all but a few of my transfer credits, and supportive staff has made me enjoy academics truly more than I ever have before. I have formed close friendships with other friends, transfers and traditionals alike. I even entered a sales competition within the business school and took home 3rd, bringing internship opportunities and close relationships with inspiring professors that I had not known before. There is a sense of comfort that comes with being in the right place, it’s unexplainable.

Even though as I am writing this it is -5˚ in Missoula and Sunny and 65˚ in Irvine, I have no doubt this is my place.

My Advice

There is a difference between missing home and missing out. Too often, college students feel obligated to gut out a decision they made when they were still in highschool. Psychologically, your brain changes from 18-22, that also happens to be when we, as students, have to make one of the bigger decisions of our lifetime. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind, or making the ‘wrong’ choice for you. Life is as positive or negative as you want to make it, having the courage to take your happiness seriously is not something to be overlooked. Transferring is so often ‘taboo’ because it IS a radical change, but why is a radical change towards happiness a bad thing? Everyone is entitled to pursue their own future and happiness.

Transferring universities is not a “one size fits all” solution. But for some, it can make all the difference.

Going to class could save your ass

*WARNING: graphic image at the end*

April 13, 2018 will be a day that will scar me for the rest of my life, literally.

It was a Friday and for one of my classes I had to attend Wiley & the Wild West, a yodeling show. Yodeling is not a genre that I listen to so it’s safe to say I had no desire to go. Luckily, I was in the class with my good friend Caroline and we braved it together. We stayed for about the first 15 minutes and then snuck out. We hurried to her car in the Adams Center parking lot, I plopped into the passenger seat, and that’s where things went south.

I wasn’t sure what happened but I knew it was bad. Acting on instinct, I jumped out of the car.  I looked down at Caroline’s passenger seat, and there it was – a newly broken wine glass.

I looked down and noticed there were drops of blood on the pavement accompanied by an almost numbing pain in my left buttcheek. I called Caroline over and she confirmed that the wine glass had gouged a reasonably sized hole in my favorite jeans (RIP) and my favorite cheek.

So there I am, draped over the trunk of Caroline’s Kia Forte bleeding all over the gym parking lot while she cleans the glass out of the seat. A truck pulled over and a woman jumped out of the passenger seat to see what was going on.

She looked at my butt and said  “I am an EMT and you’re gonna need to go to the hospital.”

We promptly ignored her professional advice, folded ourselves into the Kia and I actively tried to avoid bleeding on Caroline’s seats on drove home. When we got to my house I took off my jeans, laid on the couch, and gave Caroline some tweezers to search for any leftover glass. She took one look and said, “Yeah, you know… maybe we should go to the hospital”.

I wrapped myself in a towel and off we went to the nearest Cost Care. I told them the story and they couldn’t help but laugh. They soon decided that my injury needed to be handled by the ER.

We arrived at the ER,  where I departed an hour later with 7 stitches and one embarrassing ass story.

For the next 2 weeks I couldn’t fully sit down, and on top of that, I owed Caroline a wine glass. Maybe if I wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to leave and instead learned to appreciate the art of yodeling all could have been avoided.

Moral of the story, look before you sit and don’t skip class kids.