We let the facts do the talking.

What do you Meme?

Part 2: Imitation is a form of flattery

In the first part of my blog, I focused on the benefits of using memes in brand-led communication but let’s delve into the characteristics that make them ideal.

We’ve all seen the ‘Distracted Boyfriend’ meme; it started with a photoshoot that went viral because of one image. Users started adopting the template and creating scenarios that best explain the situation through sarcasm, humour, and relatability.

One of the most common imitations of the meme was the call to action ‘Tag a friend that falls in love regularly.’ Much like a digital wildfire, it spread and reached its peak within the aforementioned 72-hour period, gaining replicas across individual users and reaching its zenith with Penguin Random House that used it to highlight the distinct difference existent between an em dash and a semicolon.

The three things one must factor into their meme-usage are:

  • Relatability – Create a feeling of understanding; a belonging. The viewer must know what you’re referring to and possibly share that post, offering you the awareness you desire
  • Wit – Don’t be erudite but remember that Chandler’s well-timed wit is what got him one of the most reminiscent relationships on TV
  • Relevance – Don’t use viral memes because of their exposure; use the right ones at the right time to ensure brand relevance. Do your homework — Not all memes have the best reputation

Having said the above, memes are a fun tool for communication, but, most importantly, they’re entertaining to research and ideate for. Have fun with them and loosen up the brand’s approach; your audience is looking for a human connection with you.


Riya Vatnani is Account Manager at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |