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Tag Archives: memes

The Culture Industry on the Internet: Memes and the BK Case Study

Don't ask the Subervient Chicken to do something crass...

Don't ask the Subervient Chicken to do something crass... (Click on me to have some fun!)

Viral Marketing-The Burger King Case Study

Do you remember BK’s subservient chicken?  In 2004 I giggled along with my suite mate in college as we playing around with this, because we were of course putting in inappropriate things for the chicken to do. (He will pee on the couch, but won’t eat McDonalds or go vegan.)

Why the blast from the past?   After one day of this marketing campaign, over 1 million unique visitors had been to Burger Kings website (Wired).  It is an interactive website–still available on BK’s website–that is a great example of what a company’s web presence should be: full of little nuggets of content that expand on the brand and engage the user with Burger King’s products. The avian piece of corporately produced “viral” content above is engaging and acts in a memetic way.

The Simpson’s Movie is one of many films (Dark Knight, The Watchman, etc.) that possessed an inherent fan base before its theatrical release. Large online campaigns before the release including websites and video content were therefore wildly successful. Again BK sponsored a unique experience: everyone could “Simpsonize” themselves before the theatrical release.  Anyone with a facebook account can remember how profile pictures on whole seemed to have more of a yellowish tinge to them during that time.

BK let you Simpsonize yourself! Not anymore unfortunately :)

BK let you Simpsonize yourself! Not anymore unfortunately :(

Finally BK partnered with the creative mind behind Family Guy to sponser “Seth McFarland’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy” which consisted of weekly releases of short videos on youtube.  One of the videos Super Mario Rescues The Princess, had been watched over 2.1 million times shortly after its release, and it become the most popular video of the week (tvwire.com). The clips proved to be a viral in nature and had BK advertising elements including billboards with a small 5 second humorous clip of the King. Below is my favorite  of the BK sponsored videos:

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Burger King is the perfect example of how large companies have began to successfully mimic meme culture to market their products

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The Commodification of Memes: Marketing Campaigns and Chuck on Conan

Last night while I was putting off several pieces of reading, I was scouring the online realm for the most recent episode of “The Office” in which Fan favorites Jim and Pam get married.  When I finally found it–prepared with a box of tissues by my side–I was surprised to see a viral video integrated into the programming: here.

In my last post I discussed how ‘organic’ memes are created online by communities of meme culture, and only a select few of the wildly popular memes are noticed by the mainstream media (MSM).  These popular memes tend to be integrated into the programming of television and films. Read More »

Meme Culture and the Mainstream Media

There is a certain amount of media literacy that is needed to be involved in what I will call meme culture.  For all intensive purposes a member of meme culture is someone who makes the conscious decision to monitor the internet to notice when there is an up tick in certain viewing or other behaviors. Posting boards like 4chan are often the source of the development of internet memes (Grossman 2008). Once a member of meme culture experiences a new meme, he/she makes a judgment on its relative worth. Meme culture is propagated by sharing these pieces of culture by word of mouth within a community. Often members interact with a meme they find some inherent value in by leaving commentary or by creating a collaborative or alternative version.  There can be more active and more passive members of this culture.  Being an active member involves a serious amount effort to stay aware.

I argue that meme culture produces internet memes that are organic. Read More »

Are memes spreading too fast online? Or are they expanding cultural creativity?

Cultural units that got out of control?

Richard Dawkins developed the original conception of what we presently call a meme by applying genetic theories to culture. He argued that culture, like genetic material, could be measured in discrete units each of which’s sole purpose was to propagate itself to ensure survival of its kind. Memes—meant to sounds like genes—therefore evolved in a similar fashion as Darwin argues our traits do, albeit possibly with a quicker time line. With the rise of digital culture, where bits and packets of information can be copied exactly with no corruption of the data, we have seen an up tick in the spread of viral pieces of culture (e.g. youtube video). When we kick cultural evolution into over drive and create perfectly copied pieces of culture accessible to such disparate communities, are we creating a mass culture? Or are we in fact experiencing a new renaissance? Are people being more creative or just turned into Photostats? Seeing how the theories of a mass audience developed around mainstream media (MSM) may help to understand the audience for these digital memes. Also, examining how MSM have reacted to these changes in culture as well as their influence on the popularity of memes may provide some further understanding.

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How Mr. Norris and A Single Baby Became Internet Sensations

While we are doing our week away from the monopolizing force that is Google, I was ambushed by a Huffington Post link that featured the hottest video on the internet titled All The Single Babies (this is not a youtube version, so it is safe for your viewing pleasure).   This gave me an idea for the topic of my next travelogue: Memes.

Put Your Hands Up!

'Put Your Hands Up!'

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Doing it for the “lulz” – Griefers, 4Chan, and Taking the Internet Seriously

Since I can remember, I’ve been an unsuspecting (re: female) fan and member of many online communities that breed gamer/hacker culture, internet memes, and are generally considered wastes of server space, such as 4chan.org and SomethingAwful.com (note: both of these sites are NOT work-friendly and may contain some inappropriate material). I’ve also participant in many MMORPGs that members of these communities partake in and make fun of, such as Second Life and especially World of Warcraft. Read More »