They are clever, concise and have a popularity that enables them to spread like a virus (some even involve felines), and memes offer a great way to make a statement.

A meme is an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture (‘meme’ was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, 1976). And given the viral nature of social media, memes, especially the most effective ones, can spread like wildfire.

So how do you create an effective meme? First you need to have a powerful message, or at least one that is going to resonate on an emotional level with its intended audience—successful memes are often satirical (or downright funny) and make a big impact with minimal fuss. They are also based on current trends or political movements.

The memes created at ARMEDIA are designed to generate conversations about the current political or social environment.

“I think an effective meme has to be topical, smart, succinct (both visually and text), inoffensive and not too opinionated—just more about letting the graphic and text speak for itself,” says ARMEDIA managing director Eddy Jokovich. “I’ve noticed that the most effective memes (effective meaning more interactions) have been the ones that compare and contrast (ie. what a politician may have said in the past, but what they say now).”

“I think a work really only becomes a meme if people start sharing it, if it gains traction in the social media sphere,” says Deborah Kelly, creative director and meme creator at ARMEDIA. “Otherwise, it’s just a kind of digital mini poster. With high hopes!”

Going viral

Many memes are also built on the back of the success of other memes—known as memejacking. And as well as being a way to make political or social statements, memes are also a popular avenue for marketers to create a viral buzz around a company’s products or services.

Getting started on your own meme can be as simple as using a meme generator. “There are online meme generators,” Eddy says, “but they tend to use ugly fonts.” He suggests this option is a good one to use for generating ideas for memes, which could be refined with photo editing software, such as Photoshop.

Watch this space!

 Just for fun

  • Want to know where some of the most popular memes come from? This YouTube video explains a few.
  • 3D printing is opening a whole new avenue, allowing you to hold many popular memes in your hand.
  • Based on the popularity of some memes, Deborah has this advice: “The main trick is this: use a pussycat!”

Here are a few of ARMEDIA’s most popular memes:


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