Harlem Shakes: Shortest Meme Ever?

Harlem Shakes: Shortest Meme Ever? 

The lifespan of social media has been continually shrinking in the face of social media’s growth. As content becomes easier to both share and make, viral memes can reach an internet saturation point much quicker than even those of a few years ago. Early memes like the Dancing Baby were able to keep relevance for several months due to the slow nature of e-mail forwards. By the time LOLCats, Chocolate Rain, and other post-Facebook memes hit the scene, a star could rise and fall in a single month. But just because the majority of the internet has had their fill doesn’t mean that latecomers won’t try and keep the party going. Light internet users will always get to trends after the power users, and a grandmother watching that “Gangam Style” Superbowl commercial will have lots of questions about it. Ubiquity might make the length of a trend overstay its welcome, but it can’t do much to rush it out the door.

Of course, individuals aren’t the only ones paying attention to viral videos. PR and marketing professionals know when a trend is rising – and when it’s safe enough that they can use it for their own devices. Nabisco made a brilliant move by releasing a “lights out” commercial during the Super Bowl blackout, but not everyone can move so quickly. In fact, the larger the organization the harder it is, by definition, to move quickly. In many ways, companies need a SWAT team (with a member of their legal team included in that) prepared just for real-time reactions. But authenticity is important too. A South Park episode that references planking can probably tackle it without feeling forced. The Today Show, on the other hand, parodying “Friday” might not go over so well. In fact, a lot of companies should keep aware that many social media memes are…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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