Memes; Dos or Don’ts in Marketing Communications?

We’ve all been there before. While scrolling through our favorite social media app we see the absolute *perfect* meme to use for a client’s social pages or potential marketing campaign. “It would be so easy!” you whisper as you start brainstorming potential applications. But before you even THINK about putting pen to paper and committing resources to your idea, I want you to take a deep breath and PUT THE MEME DOWN before someone -mainly you and your professional reputation- gets hurt.

That’s because behind memes’ shiny exteriors hide a slew of potential landmines that could blow a marketer’s entire body of work up within minutes of posting.

For one, memes are NEVER FREE. Even though the images or gifs are easily shareable and downloadable, copyright laws state that they are forever and always the property of their creators. Even if you could identify the source (which is tough in itself), unless you have express written permission from said creator to use that meme in your campaign, you’re exposing yourself and your client to costly litigation that could cost you thousands in legal fees and penalties.

Second, it reflects badly on the integrity of your brand and business as a marketer. Resources need to be properly compensated. Assets need to be paid for. And by taking a meme and using it in your for-profit campaign as-is, you’re showing the world that you wouldn’t bat an eye at effectively “stealing” another person’s work for your own gain, which is bad optics at best.

That’s not to say that it’s impossible to leverage the power of memes in your campaigns. The savvy marketer can always find clever ways of incorporating a slice of pop culture in their content by alluding to or referencing them in their original assets. If they get greenlit on behalf of the original creator(s), even better.

While the internet is a veritable gold mind of organic and user-tested ideas, always use caution, your best judgement, and the advice of a good legal department when evaluating whether a meme-based campaign’s pros outweigh the cons.

So repeat after me: crediting is GOOD, copy-pasting is BAD.

Now go forth and make content!

-Val (The Idea Gal)

Adventures in Copywriting

Hello folks! So I’m finally coming up for air after being buried in work (sometimes literally) for weeks on end. But the type of work I’m getting called back to do is a bit surprising even to me, a hopeless overanalyzer.

See, I’ve been writing. A lot. And where I used to get called in to do factual, no-frills translations, transcriptions, or copywriting projects for companies with a…let’s call it a protective stance as far as their corporate image was concerned, now I’m getting contacted by the types of people I had only dreamed I could write for: comedians, authors, commercial directors, show producers, and children’s publishers.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not ashamed to say that I am on cloud 9 (and 10, 11, AND 12!) because I can finally give all those zany, previously unmentionable idea-babies a good home and bestow upon them a new life in someone else’s project or production. It beats having the poor things slowly fade away into obscurity or viciously haunt my dreams like the ghosts of good ideas naught to come. And believe me, they do do that!

It feels good, man. And now that I’ve caught my breath, I can’t wait to dive back into it some more. Wish me luck!

New Beginnings

Starting from scratch can be tough, but do know what’s even tougher? Not having started at all and looking back at the opportunities you missed because you were afraid that you’d fail, or being worried that the road success wouldn’t be a very straight one.

Bringing an idea to life can seem daunting at first, but with the right person by your side to give you direction, support, and much-needed perspective, you’ll marvel at how effortlessly all the pieces of the puzzle will start to fall in place.