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

“Most of the role models and leaders in my life have been Gen Xers so far."

–Male, 16, WI

Instagram has reached 700 million active users, and its growth has been speeding up. The app hit the new user mark just four months after reaching 600 million, and the introduction of Instagram stories in August may be a major contributor to its accelerated growth. The feature has a reported 200 million daily active users compared to Snapchat’s 161 million. Overall, Instagram now has twice the user base of Twitter and is quickly approaching the coveted 1 billion user mark that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger have reached. (TechCrunch)

Millennials are using social media and YouTube to decide what to buy. A U.K. study found 32% of 18-24-year-olds are using social media to research their purchase decisions before checking out, and 25% are using video platforms like YouTube. There are also signs they’d like to search for products on social media: 25% of U.K. 18-24-year-olds reported the desire to search media based on their lifestyle and 23% would like search to understand their current mood. These findings, paired with the detailed targeting available to advertisers, are changing the consumer journey from search query to cart. (AdvertisingWeek)

Millennials are keeping 70% of their money in cash, reluctant to invest in anything, from stocks to their own retirement plans—according to new BlackRock research. Clearly impacted by the Great Recession, Millennials are most likely to agree, "What you might earn investing isn't worth the risk of losing your money," and a third say “they learned what not to do with their money” from watching their parents. They also tend to undervalue the potential returns of investments by millions of dollars, which is not good news for their futures—at their current rate, most Millennials will have less than $1 million saved for retirement. (TheStreet)

Influencer marketing is proving its worth. Though marketers have worried about determining ROI with the approach, one report is claiming it’s more effective than advertising alone, showing a direct lift in results rates of up to 30%. Across 450 influencers and 11 campaigns, the expansive research compared results from consumers exposed to ads featuring influencers versus control groups, overwhelmingly showing increased action when an influencer was involved. Good news for marketers, who spent $570 million on influencer marketing on Instagram alone last year. (Adweek)

The Amazon Echo can now help pick your outfit—and tell you when you don’t look good. LED lights and a depth-sensing camera will let the new Echo Look take pictures of any look, and “Style Check” software “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists” to evaluate which outfit is best, and lets you compare pictures of multiple outfits, from multiple angles. Amazon’s already extensive product recommendations could feasibly be a part of this product’s future—and, if all goes well, a drone will ship the recommended new clothes to your door. (Quartz)

“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

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