definition of a meme

5 Brands Using Memes Effectively

If you don’t know what a meme is, you’re not alone. especially if you’re looking for a definition and examples to fit the needs of business meme marketing.

Simply put, memes are more than just an all-caps font, called Impact, in conjunction with a memorable image. Memes should be ideas that resonate with a certain segment of a culture. They can be pictures someone posts that pick up interpretation and commentary as they travel the internet eventually becoming a running inside joke. Sometimes they even reach the general public.

An example of a meme would be an image of Lucy and Ethel falling behind on an assembly line and hiding chocolates in their faces while the caption warns, “Speed it up a little.” Baby boomers know the scene from childhood and may think it’s hilarious to send this meme, this shared cultural reference, to the Facebook feed of an about-to-pop pregnant friend or overworked colleague.

The Life of a Meme

A successful meme idea moves quickly (virally) between members of a culture that appreciates and nurtures it. It’s not always easy to identify this culture. 

News and trend aggregator Reddit allows users to post thousands of pictures of any variety. Tumblr users find these images, add their captions and send the memes out to thousands of more viewers.

The folks at Buzzfeed search Reddit and Tumblr to find the latest, greatest memes out there and post them, increasing the exposure exponentially. Once Buzzfeed recommends a meme, other sites like Funny or Die and CollegeHumor pass it along, too.

Showing up on Facebook or Twitter is frequently the last step in a meme’s migration to mass consumption. From here, people react to the humor, sarcasm or insanity and forward it to another audience who in turn shares it. Pretty soon the whole world knows about Pepe the Frog.

Here are a few brands using memes on their social media.


Hostess uses their snacks creatively to portray the happenings of the day on their social media. Here, cream-filled Twinkies are made to look like ears of corn in a celebration of Autumn’s harvest. Corny? Well, yes…but kinda cute.

Wonderful Pistachios

Memes for this misunderstood nut abound on their social media channels. It’s obvious one important segment of their target market are sports enthusiasts who require snack food to be within reach during the big game. 


The sports shoe giant keeps it current on their social media channels with graphic images of products that sport clever copy. These often punny offerings are not necessarily market studied and A/B tested like their national advertising campaigns, but engaging enough for the consumption of fleeting (and free) social media posts.

Jack in the Box

The fast-food icon spares no expense to keep the conversation going on social media. In order to feed the always ravenous content gobbler that is social media, they take every opportunity to turn notable calendar moments into meme-style ads. In this case it’s “fry day” instead of “Friday” the 13th with Jack’s face as a hockey mask topped by (of course) a clown hat….scary!!! 

Dos Equis

Magazine Ad


Dos Equis ad image turned into a meme for social media

The imported beer’s renowned campaign called The Most Interesting Man in the World began in 2006. The catchy tagline has been repurposed in infinite possibilities as it’s swept through Internet Memedom. Even though their ads have morphed, the original concept lives on. You can’t buy this kind of exposure…

Memes have been around for the last decade and continue to grow as companies utilize them. They feed the consumptive nature of social media and keep their brand top of mind. Remember, the way a company plays off that hidden reference or harnesses the satire of a meme will reflect their commentary on pop culture.

Pairing a picture with a short humorous comment in bold caps that’s shared virally sounds easier than it is. Some brand’s creative teams can easily execute the light-hearted nature of the meme. But you could get it all wrong if you try to create engaging memes without help. Want to explore the viral visuals called memes? Give us a call! Our meme writers are standing by.