One way youth consumers interact with brands these days is through internet memes. A meme is defined historically as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Today’s iteration is defined as “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.” While brands risk a backlash if they try to encroach on the meme culture, this internet content opens an interesting window into youth culture. And meme creators appear to love the topic of beverages.
Meme Primer. It isn’t unusual for a teen consumer to scroll through hundreds of memes in a twenty-minute period on social media platforms including Instagram, Reddit and Tumblr. Memes can be created by anyone on social media, using applications such as Windows Paint or Photoshop. They are generally self-referential, nihilistic, absurd and surreal. They are meant to be funny or satirical, or both. The humor is often dry. Meme subjects appear in waves, often coming in and out of style in the span of weeks. Meme creators rarely take “credit” for their work. Because memes are entirely user-generated, impressions earned are authentic. Rapid iteration means young consumers may see the same content many times in a day. Highschoolers, for example, might have seen a LaCroix meme once or twice a day during its peak. The photo gallery above shows several examples of beverage memes.
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