By: Wyatt Duthie
By: Wyatt Duthie
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.
American TV vs British TV
Who makes them better?
As a student, it’s pretty common for us to succumb to the stagnation of human movement and sit for hours’ binge watching tv shows (it’s almost a rule of nature). Lately for me it’s a continuous battle whether to watch more British television or more American television.
Maybe I’ve made myself more open to it than others but for me in recent years I find that the quality of TV originating from English broadcasting companies, predominantly BBC, are constantly improving the quality of TV that we’re looking for.
Over the last few years, in majority, American script writers have lacked originality (I’m not saying they’re not of high quality). There has been a burst on the American streamline for everything and anything superhero, although I am a fan to most if not all of them, I do have a keen interest for watching something that is always different and unique. Nearly every network on the American agenda has a current or future development for a superhero television series (Take a look at the CW they have 4 ongoing series at the moment). What essentially seems to be the problem is that America has a stereotype or rather continuous dramatic plot lines. Example – how many takes of detective shows are there? We’ve got CSI, Hawaii Five-0, a few NCIS’, Criminal Minds, Castle, Lucifer … (My brain is spinning thinking of this many already).
Compared this to what’s being broadcast in the UK – for example the long running sci-fi series Doctor Who. It has been running from the 60’s with its revival in 2005 and is going strong since. While initially introduced to educate its audience on astronomy it brings together different creative elements that make it a masterpiece – horror, comedy, drama (who doesn’t love some of it) and the ability to open your mind to endless possibilities of secret civilizations, different worlds while also making its connection to the 21st century. I can’t think of an American tv show that does this, at least not off the top of my head! (Could argue your case for Supernatural!)
In the past, a few American networks have had countless takes on attempting to remake British TV and introduce it into the US and the failures certainly outweigh the success’.
Obvious failures include Little Britain, Skins, Misfits, The IT Crowd and The Inbetweeners. Very few have proven successfully including Shameless and The Office.
The main reason for this high failure rate (if the fact that America tried to remake Little Britain into “Little Britain USA” wasn’t the first clue) is that humour between the 2 nations are extremely different. Firstly, English humour (similar to Irish humour) embarks on a much more sometimes darker humour than expected, much of the time people take the absolute piss out of each other (translation = people spend much of their time mocking each other) especially to those you dislike but also there’s a tendency to do it to yourself.
If it was obviously apparent from the GIF screenshot, this example of Sherlock backs up my point – and also, who played Sherlock better: Robert Downey Jr vs Benedict Cumberbatch? Obviously goes to Benedict Cumberbatch. The first mistake you’ve already made is if you’re aware of this incredible show and have put it on the back-burner (Please fix that immediately)
I also feel like “foul” language or cursing doesn’t seem appropriate for American shows – as I’ve come to know them as Cable and Network channels with Cable TV allowing for it up to a certain level. English TV, depending on the culture that is being depicted, the characters, and the overall form of the TV show you could have every character cursing maybe a dozen times in just one sentence (probably the reason why Misfits USA never went ahead)
I’m only rejoicing to the fact that America haven’t tried to disrupt the long-running sci-fi Doctor Who. Can’t imagine that being successful!
I think the most obvious way to describe the change in humour is comparing the two primary characters of the US Office, one of the successful remakes, and the UK Office – Michael Scott a more exuberant character who could still be childish compared to David Brent’s dark and narcissistic character.
In my opinion anyway, I do feel that the quality of tv and script writing in the UK market definitely trumps over the American market (probably because I’m Irish and I understand both extremely well while some American’s wouldn’t understand the writing or have a hard grasp on the accent). I also think that the repetitious storylines don’t help – but who knows? The market seemed to have moved away from teen drama/comedies (Dawson’s Creek / The OC / One Tree Hill / Gossip Girl etc.) from the early 2000’s to dominating superhero’s in 2016. Maybe something new will come in the not so distant future?!
Calling all 90’s babies! Let’s take a trip down memory lane for a little bit and reminisce on some of your favorite cartoons from when you were still running around in Pampers. Just kidding…about the Pampers…But for real when we were growing up. Let’s just get this out of the way now that OUR cartoons are at least 80 times better than cartoons today. The whole purpose of this is to be stoked about cartoons again! Then it will turn into you hating me because you’ll get the urge to want to go watch these shows. Sorry about it, but let’s have some fun!
Rugrats is one of the shows that created the mold of 90’s cartoons being the best cartoons of all time. Not only was it a decent run of TV shows but two movies were created from this epic show. It surely must make you wish you were a child again when life was simple…
Since there seems to be a thousand different versions of Scooby-Doo from movies to shows, I am obviously putting the O.G. Scooby-Doo version on this list. I also realize that it’s not a show from the 90’s but but from the 70’s but you can’t beat the classics! I mean who doesn’t like stoned hippies and a talking dog trespassing property to catch “ghosts”! 5-year-old’s can’t get enough.
3. Hey Arnold!
Easily one of the most iconic and memorable shows from the 90’s. It provided one of the most bizarre casts ever. A kid with a football-shaped head living with his grandparents of the inner-city doing hoodrat stuff with his friends. Certainly one of the favorites among 90’s kids.
4. Dexter’s Laboratory
Dexter’s Lab = Legendary. Dexter always seemed to have some sort of shenanigans going on only to be foiled by his sister DeeDee (oh yeah ringing a bell now!). One of Cartoon Network’s best shows in history and a popular favorite among many 90’s babies.
This show was weird…but awesome…not much else to really be said about it other than it was fairly loved by us 90’s babies.
6. Powerpuff Girls
Pretty much every 90’s kid know what sugar, spice and everything nice make. Well with “Chemical X” it creates super-chicks! Nice. As a boy I can speak on behalf of all the other male viewers that watched this show and I can safely say that these three girls are badass! This show also had the best super villains and it taught us how to be responsible children (not that we were paying any attention).
7. Rocket Power
Everyone wants to be Otto Rocket, simple as that. My only question ever since I watched this as a kid is: “How the hell can these kids be better at snowboarding than me and they live on the beaches of Cali!?” In all seriousness these kids are RAD DUDE!
8. Magic School Bus
I vaguely remember watching this show since I was pretty little and it was pretty short-run but according to my mother I would get stoked to watch this show so it must have been awesome for a 3-year-old. It’s pretty hard to beat a bus that can shrink small enough to travel through a human body! Very stoked to hear that there will be a Netflix series of the Magic School Bus in 2016 (don’t hold me accountable if it doesn’t follow through).
9. SpongeBob SquarePants
Not a lot needs to be said about one of the best cartoons of all time other than there came a point in this shows career where episodes started to suck, unfortunately…However, I am now 21 years old and I still laugh at some of the first episodes. I have a little sister who is 9 years younger than me who also grew up on SpongeBob which proves this show is simply a powerhouse. If you ever want to binge watch some classic SpongeBob, hit me up.
10. Johnny Bravo
I never could understand why the chicks didn’t like Johnny Bravo…still don’t…he seems pretty smooth to me! Way smoother than I have ever been…Overall, it was actually a pretty good show and had a good run of about 7 years.
These shows are listed in no particular order and was very difficult to only pick 10 shows. Some honorable mentions are to be order to jog your memory even more than the list above:
Animaniacs, Talespin, Gargoyles, Pinky and the Brain, Garfield, Arthur, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Recess, Doug, Invader Zim, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Looney Toons, Thundercats, Pokemon, Tom & Jerry, The Wild Thornberries just to name a few.