When the Ad Meme Hits the Wall
Looks fade. Fads end. Ad programs hit the wall. Yet the endless image macros of “The Most Interesting Man in the World” will live on in Facebook archives around the world, even after the 77-year-old Dos Equis icon takes his final trip — to Mars, of course.
But Havas Worldwide, the parent company of Dos Equis, will revive the character later this year with a different actor than consumers have seen for a decade, Adweek reports on Wednesday.
That spurs the question, when is it time for brands to pull the plug on campaigns that have generated their own memes? Better still, how do they create campaigns that can become memes?
Know When to Say When
Progressive’s “Flo” is always perky, which went over badly in 2012: “Matt Fisher's devastating Tumblr post about the death of his sister, a Progressive customer, in a car accident — and his claim … that [Progressive] defended her killer in court in an effort not to pay out the benefit on her policy — have left Flo completely out of her depth,” Adweek writes in August 2012. “It's true of any bright, bubbly mascot when its owner does something insidious. They suddenly look clownish and insipid. (Had Geico been the offending party, the gecko would be swiftly fed through the lizard grinder.) And it's worse with Flo, who was already seen by many, with her too-happy demeanor and plastic sheen, as somewhat creepy.”
The article points out that her smiling face “robo-spammed” horrified consumers on Twitter before eventually replacing her face with the corporate logo.
You Have to Look Up ‘Jumping the Shark’
If random people on message boards are talking about how passé your ad campaign is, it just might be time to switch it up. Granted, forums may be passé, as well, but there it is.
If the Meme Still Has a Life, Be Positive
Ads can work as memes, and here are a few themes from Know Your Meme that marketers can try for their image macros: “demotivational” posters, LOL Cats, reaction images and “advice animals.”
What do marketers think? Some ads even come out of memes.
Please respond in the comments section below.
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