According to Wikipedia, Richard Dawkins coined the word in his 1976 book ‘The Selfish Gene’ as an attempt to explain the way cultural information spreads.
Fast forward 40 years and ‘the internet meme’ has literally wangled its way into multiple facets of our lives. It has become a form of expression/communication that everyone understands … why is that?
In the documentary ‘We are Legion’ one of the hackers associated with anonymous said: ‘A meme is basically just an idea’. The way we see it, memes convey a message or feeling that is usually too complex to explain with words alone in a fun, easy to understand way.
It’s fascinating that memes have given us a platform to say so much more with so much less. It is equally fascinating that most people will instantly understand and (in most cases) relate to the message on the meme.
Memes and advertising
Now that we have some context, we believe that memes are a great example of what advertising should be.
We cannot count the occasions where we’ve looked at an ad and thought ‘What are you trying to say?’. In marketing efforts, people (marketing professionals and clients alike) have resorted to providing ‘as much information as possible’ on ads in hopes that the potential consumer will have all the information they need to make an informed decision about buying your product or service.
However, by providing ‘as much information as possible you are just diluting your brand experience and not exposing your consumer to all of your possible touchpoints that could influence their decision to buy. In essence, it’s like going fishing, casting your line into the water and leaving the rod to not only catch the fish but reel it in as well.
Much like a fishing rod, advertising is merely a tool to help you reel in that fish.
Communication and commitment
The communication we use should spark interest and a subconscious commitment to finding out more about your product or service.
Succinct communication very often outperforms information-heavy communication, because of the fact that it allows your consumer to find out more about you on their terms at a time when it is convenient for them.
This makes your consumer feel like they are in control of the buying process.
Advertising’s primary objective should be to grab your consumers attention and let the other touchpoints in your business retain it.