f there is one thing you can count on, it is that the internet is good at sharing information fast. Like, really fast. Whether it’s breaking news from a reporter or the latest advertisement from your favorite brand, the internet can spread almost anything like wildfire. For the Chips Ahoy brand, it was the latter.
On July 10th, Chips Ahoy (the brand best known for its bite-sized chocolate chip cookies) released a new advertisement on YouTube. This advertisement personifies two Chips Ahoy cookies, and has a situation play out between the two in the same style as the popular mobile game Among Us. While the advertisement itself imitates a meme from the Among Us game, the real memes came afterwards.
For brands and marketers, using meme marketing to further your brand objectives is a great way to integrate with digital audiences where they exist online. In the case of Chips Ahoy, no one could have predicted that the meme advertisement itself would become a meme.
The Chips Ahoy Meme Advertisement
For those that are unaware, Among Us gained international fandom and adoption during the pandemic, where users can play a virtual game of “who dunnit” with others on a fictional spaceship. The whole premise of the game is to find out which character is the “imposter,” characterized by their mission of killing all other players before their identity is discovered. The rest of the game plays out like a series of Clue––the players perform minor tasks around the spaceship, and call meetings to internally discuss who they should “vote off” the spaceship (i.e. who they think the imposter is). The game itself inspired multiple meme formats in late 2020.
In the Chips Ahoy commercial, each cookie was determined to catch the other slipping on important Chips Ahoy knowledge, showing their lack of awareness of the product. It makes sense that Chips Ahoy would appeal to the younger demographic fan base of Among Us with their advertisement, in hopes that the same audience would resonate with the cookie brand.
The Chips Ahoy message did resonate with members of the youngest generation, but not in the way that they had expected.
The Chips Ahoy Meme Advertisement Memes
Enter YouTube. The video sharing platform took the clip of the Chips Ahoy advertisement to a whole new level. Users across the platform decided to add their own twists to the Chips Ahoy x Among Us content and the result is pretty hilarious.
Now, the Chips Ahoy Among Us advertisement is getting dozens of videos made per hour parodying the meme, becoming memes in the process of memeing an existing meme. Does that make sense? When a meme is found particularly funny by an audience, it inspires remixes, or extra additions to the existing content. Take the Chips Ahoy ad for example. The original ad took a meme format from Among Us and based their cookie-themed content off of that. Now, users are taking the Chips Ahoy version and adding more memes to make the remixed meme content.
For YouTube, memes exist in many different forms. Memes aren’t just images––they can be recordings, audio clips, short-form videos, skits, music concepts and more. As long as they hold a cultural significance to the digital world, it can be considered a meme. YouTube memes are different in the fact that they exist in the form of video compilations or shorts with ridiculous names. For example, “every chips ahoy cringe ad i found,” or “Chips Ahoy Ad but it's the Grubhub Ad.”
What does this mean?
When you’re making a meme for your digital campaign, think about how it can engage even further with your target audience. How will this concept be perceived by another group who see it? Similar to the [adult swim] trend on TikTok that took off a few months ago, these YouTube parodies aren’t created or approved by the Chips Ahoy brand, but they are still spreading brand awareness to the YouTube audience through humor and relatability. Frequent users of YouTube will recognize the title format of the video, and will be more likely to engage with it.
There’s a specific language for each social media platform, and natives to each platform recognize when someone is speaking their language.
This example from the series Kitchen Nightmares shows exactly that. Although the show aired in 2007, younger demographics (like Gen Z) are finding the content on YouTube thanks to the headlines, which read like other parody videos created by other Gen Z. The person in charge of their YouTube content is aware of the trends on YouTube, and is integrating the Kitchen Nightmares brand into that style, gathering more attention and views because of it.
YouTube operates just like any other social media platform: with its own rules of engagement. For brands and marketers, consider looking at YouTube for digital campaigns. After all, memes exist there too.