How Memes Made Me Buy a Gucci Watch

I never thought I’d have the pleasure of writing an article about memes, but today’s the day. Memes are fun. They’re easy to make and share. They’re relatable, and, if executed correctly, memes make people feel understood and part of some big, fun inside joke. And they’re everywhere. In fact, found that Google searches for “meme” had surpassed searches for “messiah.”

That means marketers should be all over memes, right?

Well, sort of. Memes are great vehicles for making timely jokes, expressing ideas and even sharing broad cultural statements, so marketers should be sure their message aligns with this medium’s purpose for being.

Marketers should also do their research before diving into the meme pool. One of the most appealing things about a meme is the masses are able to easily replicate it. So if things go wrong, they usually go really wrong. Take a look at this New York Daily News article for an example.

Understanding the pulse of pop culture at the moment of memeing is key. Creating a meme isn’t the place to be overt in educating people about what you’re trying to sell. It’s not the place to try too hard to be funny or completely break your brand tone or standards. It’s the place to entertain and identify with your customers—even if you’re marketing an Italian luxury brand.

Gucci recently launched the “#TFWGucci” Instagram campaign, an array of self-deprecating memes featuring its $800+ watches. The promotional efforts also included a microsite with a meme gallery that includes anything from classic portraits to artsy-yet-crude line drawings, all paired with ornately descriptive captions about each meme artist.

Image: Christto & Andrew
Text: Samantha Culp
Gucci, #TFWGucci , 2017

Image: Meatwreck
Text: Kyle Chayka
Gucci, #TFWGucci , 2017

An AdWeek contributor wrote, “While [#TFWGucci] might seem like a stuffy attempt to bridge two worlds, the truth is, it makes for pretty entertaining browsing—thanks largely to the different perspectives of the talents on display.”

I don’t consider myself to be affluent or fashion forward, I don’t have the slightest fascination with fine Italian leather, and I’m not a watch fanatic. Simply put, I never gave a second thought to the Gucci brand. But the dichotomy of this high-fashion brand and its means of advertising really appealed to my ironic millennial sense of humor.

A brand that I used to view as irrelevant suddenly connected with me on a spiritual level. It’s not forced. It’s not over the top. It’s just funny and well executed. And because of that, I have a new Gucci Diamantissima 32-millimeter watch that makes me smile whenever I check the time.

So, the bottom line is, marketers should start taking memes seriously. But not too seriously, of course. If Gucci was able to push the parameters of its brand tone to include memes, there’s probably a way that you can too.

Are you thinking about navigating the complex world of memes? Marriner can help. We have a few expert memeologists on staff. Give us a call.

view more