id you really get your Covid vaccine(s) if you didn’t post a picture of your vaccination card on social media? I’ll let the CDC do the talking on the vaccine front but long story short, vaccinations are rolling out throughout the USA and across the world, giving us a glimmer of hope that we can return to whatever normal was before we strapped fabric to our faces to grab a cup of coffee.

While some brands have embraced the large-scale vaccination effort, such as Krispy Kreme offering free doughnuts to consumers, Samuel Adams buying a beer for vaccinated adults, and Target offering additional pay to employees, other brands have remained quiet. Meanwhile, a trend has emerged on Twitter where users are telling us what being vaccinated means you still can and cannot do, with a humorous twist.

The Trend:

This trend is laying on the mass amount of information that has been released surrounding the pandemic, from professionals and influencers alike. The inindation of information has led to a more educated and equally confused public in many ways. Online, it can seem like everyone is an expert in pandemic-101 and they’re letting that be known on social media. If you take a second look at the meme above, you’ll notice that this very-specific point of what not-to-do after being vaccinated is actually just the plot of Mama Mia.

And this one is the Lizzie Mcguire Movie. The format of this trend is simple: “Being vaccinated does NOT mean [insert plot of favorite movie here].” By following this “advice,” you’re at less of a risk of being cancelled for engaging in activities that are not pandemic-appropriate. 

For the marketers:

This trend morphs humor with a serious topic, as do many other meme trends, and the message that it sends to consumers of this media varies depending on who is sharing it.

Take what happened with Burger King on International Women’s Day. In an attempt to participate in the meme economy, which in this case takes place on Twitter, Burger King’s official UK account tweeted “Women belong in the kitchen” followed by a thread stating their mission to empower females to pursue culinary careers and eventually promoting their new scholarship fund. This tweet received severe backlash, and was even turned into a meme promoting messaging that directly contradicts the point of their initial meaning. It should also be noted that Burger King has had a history of misogynistic messaging. In short, one tweet totally backfired.

We know Gen Z and how to win them over, and this trend can play into that. Gen Z loves supporting companies that support a good cause, but only when that support is shown appropriately. In the case of this trend, is your company publicly encouraging vaccinations? Then feel free to meme about it! Are you unsure where your company stands on this issue? Maybe don’t partake in this trend.

In conclusion:

Vaccinations aside, this trend is a reminder that as marketers we must think before we meme. Whether it’s in the meme’s copy or poor taste in imagery featuring the characters appearing in various meme templates, Meme Marketing can be a way to relate to our consumers, but if done wrong it can do the exact opposite. Happy memeing! 

Concepts Discussed
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