Platty Joobs: The Dangers and Advantages of Jacking in to the Meme of The Month.

“Have you got your street party ready for the Platty Joobs?”

“What?” I asked, blinking a little faster than I’d intended.

“Platty Joobs.”

The lady might almost have been speaking a different language.

“Platty,…. Joobs?” she persevered.

The pin finally dropped.

“Platinum Jubilee!”

This is how language evolves: someone says something silly or smart (or smart and silly), someone thinks “Oh, that’s good” and suddenly it’s a new phrase. It’s always been so and always will be. These days we give it a name: we call it a “meme”.

The glorious thing about social media is that this process has accelerated to unheard of speeds meaning that the term “Platty Joobs” went from a quirky tweet to part of the national discussion in little over a day. It’s extraordinary. It’s striking. And marketeers have noticed.

“Enjoy your platty joobs Sausage Roll Your Majesty!” tweeted Greggs as they hawked their free sausage roll offer – a sentence that might have seemed comical only 3 days earlier.

Greggs had joined the Meme.

Memejacking is nothing new – brands have been doing it for as long as social media has been a thing. The idea is simple: find something that’s trending and join the trend with a tweet or message of your own.

The advantage of this is that the message is already wildly popular and being shared all over the shop. Anybody searching through the stream could come across your message, even if they don’t follow your social media. If you’re canny, that tweet or message might get shared, increasing your visibility both generally and within the meme stream itself, as the hashtag is still there.

It is one of the very easiest, and laziest, ways to go viral.

Boy do brands love going viral.

The trouble with meme jacking, as with a lot of social media marketing, is that consumers are increasingly wise to it. They can see that you’re riding on the coattails of a meme and they may think you an opportunist. They might think it insincere – and that’s one thing you simply can’t afford to be in todays marketing landscape.

On the flip side, if your brand is a fun-loving brand with a bright, social appeal, memejacking can enhance that identity.

The trick is to get into the spirit of the meme so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb and that can be a tightrope walk too far. It has to be quick in order to catch the trend, too. A day too late and your audience has already moved on.

What good would Greggs get in mentioning Platty Joobs today, for example? Nothing at all. We’ve moved on.

So if you’re going to jump on a bandwagon and hijack a meme, do it quick, do it honestly, do it with wit, humour and good grace.

And be prepared to fail just as readily as you succeed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve trifle to finish. Pip pip.