The Power of Memes

Hey Girl Meme

These names and phrases are probably familiar to you: ‘Condescending Wonka,’ ‘Forever Alone,’ ‘Ridiculously Photogenic Guy,’ ‘Socially Awkward Penguin,’ and Ryan Gosling. The Ryan Gosling Memes start with the ever so eloquent words, “Hey Girl,” and proceed to sprout off phrases such as, “Hey girl. Doesn’t this organic, local, non-GMO, granola always taste sweeter when it’s bought with cooperation?” Memes have grown widespread over the last couple of years with the popularity of companies like Twitter and Tumblr skyrocketing since their inception. Recently, companies have also taken advantage of this growing trend and capitalized on its ability to spread like wildfire around the world.

I recently read an article about advertising that featured a video of Ryan Gosling refusing to eat his cereal on Vine. The cereal company Cap’n Crunch immediately used this form of social media to advertise its own cereal, revealing, “Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal… unless it’s Crunch Berries. #CapnMakesItHapn.” Not only is this form of advertising inexpensive, but also Cap’n Crunch is implementing the limitless opportunities of the Internet, where sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs is literally as simple as a click of a button.

I personally thought it was clever of companies to use this medium to send messages to the public about their products. The target of this particular meme is aimed towards are fans of Ryan Gosling, most appealing for women. A question I must pose, is this false advertising? The actor himself never endorsed the product, but now his name is associated with Cap’n Crunch. Fans are definitely more aware of this brand due to Gosling’s fame and popularity.

As the Internet continues to grow increasingly popular, user friendly, and ubiquitous, businesses must learn to adapt to the fast-changing trends in social media in order to appeal to the greatest consumer base. In order to be competitive and business savvy, companies can consider strategies similar to that of Cap’n Crunch and use an already popular idea to exponentially benefit with little work on their part.

Charlene Tai

National Tsing Hua University

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