Hashtag Memes Hashtag Marketing

For many of us, our Facebook newsfeeds have transitioned into a hub to stay updated with the latest memes. What once started as funny cat images with captions has now evolved into an umbrella term for all viral images and gifs. In fact, memes have become so huge they’ve splintered into a variety of subcategories ranging from self-deprecating memes on one end of the spectrum to wholesome memes on the other end. Memes that become overly played out, commonly referred to as dank memes, are often so ludicrous that you can’t help but blurt out in laughter.

What is a meme?

In recent years, brands have realized that capitalizing on memes brings about much goodwill and is almost always a sure-fire way to garner positive engagement and generate conversation. But what exactly is a meme?

Coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976, the term ‘meme’ originally referred to culturally transmitted information that was self-propagating and had the potential to go viral within a community. Religions started off as memes. With the evolution of the internet, memes became associated with trending media and/or catchphrases that appear on various social networking sites instead.

photo credits: SGEEK

An example of a popular meme. Modern memes often poke fun at common millennial problems and involve stock images or screenshots edited with text. Dedicated meme pages like Kiasu Memes for Singaporean Teens or Dank Memes Melt Steel Beams have well over 10,000 likes.

Memes in marketing

The phrase “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” should really be “when on the Internet, do as the Netizens do”. An average person now spends an average of 90 minutes a day on their phones and when most of that time is spent catching up on the latest viral content, traditional advertising becomes an utter buzzkill. Enter memes. By capitalizing on formats that are well-loved by many, brands can generate conversation about trending topics while still subtly promoting their own agenda and content. Here are some of our favourite examples.

photo credits: SGAG


Perhaps the biggest player in local memes, SGAG collaborated with McDonalds to launch their latest seasonal burger.


The latest controversy involves Brazilian footballer Neymar. His performance in the 2018 FIFA World Cup games came under spotlight when fans noted his constant exaggeration of injuries. KFC South Africa took this opportunity to create a short mocking his antics and inviting customers to “make a meal of it”. Currently sitting at over 2 million views and 4,000 likes, it’s safe to say many fans did indeed, make a meal of it.

photo credits: Scoot


For those who missed the Daryl Aiden Yow fiasco, the local photographer and influencer was caught both plagiarising and editing stock images for sponsored content. Budget airline Scoot was first in line to cash in on the drama, advertising their flights to Athens. At time of writing, the post received over 5,000 reactions and 3,000 shares.

You can read the entire exposé here.

photo credits: Ikea


On the day of the historic Trump-Kim summit, Ikea Singapore chose the high road and promoted world peace with a clever pun in tow.

photo credits: Netflix


Last year, Marine Parade Town Council caused quite a stir in the local community when residents noticed a poster of the same cleaner listed as both the cleaner and the cleaning supervisor. This prompted jokes that the cleaner in question “ownself check ownself”. In response, Netflix Singapore posted a series of “ownself check ownself” photos in response that elicited a laugh or two from many.

You can read the entire article here.

photo credits: Gucci


Back in March 2017, Gucci launched a collection of new watches and as part of their marketing campaign, started the #TFWGucci campaign. #TFWGucci, which stands for That Feeling When Gucci, is an adaptation of a popular meme format and represents the moment you put on one of their new watches. Each post on Instagram averaged 50,000 likes.

You can read more about the campaign here.


If anything, the shift towards making use of memes in marketing should come as a shock to no one. This is but one in a long line of ephemeral trends that we marketers have dedicated our lives to chasing.