For better or worse, we are living in the peak age of memes. Memes are everywhere we go — some are funny, others are not, and some have died and gone to Meme Heaven a long time ago. Like with every good thing that kids enjoy, big companies have taken memes for themselves to try and create advertisements that can be relatable to those "darn millennials" and whatever term is used for people younger than me. Just like other instances where adults try to be "cool" and "hip" these memes can fall flat, or just get so weird that you wonder if management is okay. These brands are trying so hard to make themselves relatable to the youngins, but honestly we're going to consume those products regardless of whether you make a meme out of it or just stay in your lane and stick to what you know.
15 When A Brand Kills The Meme
When your roommate eats all the Ruffles. pic.twitter.com/vyKnZKUmVW— RUFFLES (@RUFFLES) July 29, 2016
The Arthur meme was one of my favorites because of its innocent simplicity, but because it was such a good meme, it was easily used for corporate evil. It's fairly difficult to do the Arthur meme wrong. So it's not like I hate this Ruffles meme for poor execution, it's more that you know a meme is about to go into the pits as soon as brands start using them for advertisements. Memes are inherently anti-capitalist, with their free-to-use and ever-evolving format, so to see corporations use this medium for their consumerist gains, just makes me want to ball up my fist in frustration like Arthur here.
Ruffles, you are one of the more superior chips out there, so I expect better from you than to stoop to taking memes as your own, but I see now that no chip brand can be trusted.
14 Please Stop
The "bae" craze may be behind us, but the effect still linger into modern vocabulary. I don't have that many issues with the word because it's just like a simple, gender neutral way to refer to someone important to you but again, some companies just like to take things that are totally fine on their own and see the world burn. This isn't even a good "bae" pun. Sure, there are the letters B, A, and E in the word "breadsticks" but they're out of order and not even together, so this was just a major stretch. What makes this whole ad-campaign even worse is that Olive Garden decided it was a good idea to reply to like, literally everyone with this tagline for a month. Almost like they came up with this terrible slogan and thought they didn't have to improve it. If it wasn't for the fact that those breadsticks are so good, I'd be out on OG in a flash.
13 Super Cringe Worthy Moments
Wendy's...just...why? Who was the person who decided this would be a good idea to film and subject both the actors and the audience into viewing this meme-centered monstrosity? First of all, "Like a Boss" memes are so outdated—not even meme outdated, where it's a few months to a few years old—this is extremely outdated. I stopped making "Like a Boss" memes in junior year of high school, and that was literally seven years ago. This commercial is fairly recent, which is even worse. This person, even if he is called a 'memer,' is a terrible memer because memes aren't even made like that anymore. Get with the times, Wendy's. And by that I mean stop trying to be relevant to the young kids. They're going to eat your chicken sandwiches if you meme at them or not, so just save the embarrassment.
12 A Ron Swanson Sandwich
I can't tell if I'm annoyed or impressed by the recent Arby's ad-campaign where they pander to every aspect of pop-culture and try to make it relevant to their meat sandwiches. Here we have a Ron Swanson-inspired sandwich that actually is pretty sensual in nature, thanks to the assortment of meats in the sandwich and the cardboard saxophone accessory. Whoever does all of the cardboard paper-craft for these pictures is honestly pretty talented. Sometimes I think that I'm looking at the Twitter page of a legitimate sandwich joint, instead of a franchise that tries to promote a meat monstrosity called a Meat Mountain. That just seems like the perfect way to die at the age of 23. Nice try, Arby's. You can make little cardboard figures of all my favorite anime characters but I like my insides too much to eat here.
11 Women Laughing Alone With Wendy's Salad
This perfect moment is not real. IT DOES NOT EXIST. But that perfect Wendy’s salad does. pic.twitter.com/rljae4uczz— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 8, 2017
If you were on Tumblr anytime between 2011 and 2013, you would remember the woman eating alone with a salad meme that stemmed from way too many stock images of pretty women laughing alone in a field, eating a salad. Wendy's hasn't come out saying that they're directly using the woman laughing alone with salad meme, but I'm going to call out a meme when I see one. Pretty much the only time that Wendy's advertises salad is with women laughing alone while holding a salad, not eating it. I know it's hard for anyone to pretend that eating salad is fun, but I personally think that a woman trying to make the best of her lunch situation in solitude is fairly depressing. We all go to Wendy's for the chicken nuggets, and it's time that Wendy's stops pretending.
10 High End Meme Brands
#TFWGucci John Trulli, AKA @cabbagecatmemes, takes on the well known-structure of the “guy she says I shouldn’t worry about” meme with the addition of a #Gucci #LeMarchédesMerveilles timepiece. It’s a classic two-panel joke, with a mundane watch set against Gucci’s version. Trulli’s meme style is quirky and irreverent, tackling pop culture and everyday experiences in equal measure. All he has to do is add a line of text to the image and it becomes a viral vehicle. — @kchayka. Discover more through link in bio.
This meme ad-campaign is one that boggles me a little bit because unlike the other brands here, Gucci is already known for being fresh, stylish, and with the times. They're a fashion brand, so they basically set the trends and don't typically have to resort to pandering. I guess they wanted to reach out to audiences that are too young to be able to afford any Gucci watches, but I don't know if it worked. Sure, the photos were fresh as hell —they may be memes, but in fashion, memes are also an art project. Some of the captions were kind of funny, but it also felt like they were aggressively trying to sell me something. The TFWGucci campaign just fell a little short for me. It felt like the cool kids trying to look cool to the sixth graders.
9 Getting Nerdy For The Money
Everyone and their mother was on the hype train for Breath of the Wild, and it looks like Domino's Pizza was in on it, too. This kind of promotion doesn't hurt my soul too bad; the picture actually looks pretty cool and it's also neat to see the protagonist of this 'make believe pizza-venture' is a lady. The one thing that kinda drives me mad about it is the punny caption that was just not very good. "Nosh-talgia-licious" makes sense, but it's also just a not very good play on words. The other thing that's wrong with this is the fact that they're promoting garlic breath, which is quite vile. Sure, we all love a good dousing of garlic on pizza, but you better get some gum in your mouth afterwards.
8 This Goes Too Far
waiter: your steak sir, very rare— Denny's (@DennysDiner) June 15, 2017
you: wow, that IS rare pic.twitter.com/J81HGTuldg
Denny's social media was like the Founding Father of marketing memes, and while their product is one of the only ones that memes seem to be appropriate to use for, their jokes sometimes go to WTF Land or even to the pits of despair. Take this meme for example, which doesn't look like it belongs on any sort of promotional anything, but looks more like my Twitter account at 3:00am. We've all wondered if the Denny's social media manager was okay after they posted strange GIFs of putting pancakes into shoes, or promoting using coffee as eye contact solution, but this kind of meme is making me wonder if the Denny's person is okay on a different playing level. It's going to be all right, buddy.
7 It Goes Even Farther
Here is a great example of how the Denny's person is truly not okay. Everything about this image is cursed, and it is wrong. Denny's just singlehandedly put everything I hate about social media all into one image, while using a beautiful picture of pancakes as a backdrop. This is a disgrace to pancakes everywhere. I want to believe that the Denny's guy didn't know what he was doing, that he was just taking different buzzwords to make a "relatable" meme, but we all know that he knew exactly what he was doing. I would just like to spend 10 minutes of my life not wanting to cringe at the word "daddy," but here we are in 2017, folks. What makes it creepier is that syrup_daddy is old AF if he was born in 1953. Everything is wrong here.
6 Cowboy Carbs
⠀ ⠀ 🤠— Olive Garden (@olivegarden) July 11, 2017
🍝 🥖 🍝
👇🏽 🍝🍝 👇🏽
Howdy. I'm the sheriff of carbs. You can have all the carbs.
Not only is this emoji man disturbingly built, but the joke literally makes no sense. Olive Garden, you're on this list twice and by now you should have learned better but nope, we still have to deal with these bad memes. I don't really know what kind of joke they're trying to play off of here, but I think it's the, "I'm here to kick a*s and do blank, and I'm all out of blank." But also I don't think that's the joke because they're saying the exact opposite. Hold the change maybe? Is the sheriff giving his body to us to consume? That would be even more disturbing... The thing is, I don't really know what's going on here but I also really don't care to find out either. The carbs sheriff really has such a small head compared to his large bread-y body. So I don't trust him anyways.
5 Please, Only Slide The Pancakes
24-hour diners with a specialty in pancakes really need to hold off on making memes about modern dating culture. We typically go to IHOP to forget that nobody is sliding into our DMs. While getting some pancakes is a nice temporary fix, I will feel lonely again once the breakfast digests. While this meme kind of works, it's really hard to believe that the person creating this meme knows much about anyone sliding into anyone's DMs and what the connotation of that entails. Most people don't bring pancakes to the table in the DM, just saying. Is it so hard to enjoy breakfast foods these days without feeling the attack of an onslaught of bad Internet jokes? Soon enough we'll have meme-cakes and then I'll officially be done with everything.
4 Trying Too Hard To Relate
Feed me Taco Bell and tell me I'm pretty. pic.twitter.com/f1lCpYgFcw— Taco Bell (@tacobell) June 6, 2017
Let's put the fact that Taco Bell is pandering to everyone who puts down on Tinder that the only interesting thing about them is how much they love tacos (who doesn't). So let's look at the fact that this ad is basically promoting forced cannibalism. This person definitely has the bodily features of a human being, but the head is a taco which means that she's a half-human/half-taco hybrid. It looks like the taco shell is the same kind of consistency as her flesh, which either means she's made out of tortilla or that the tortilla has been completely removed from this live taco. Whatever the case, she's basically asking you to feed her smaller versions of her own kind. That's just straight-up messed up.
3 Pandering To Kids Who Can't Drive
Honda made a good effort to show that their brand is up with the times and full of dank memes that the kids will love. Except they forgot the fact that young teens who spend time looking at memes are also the exact demographic of people that cannot use their product, or even afford it if they knew how to drive. There's really so much that your young teen can say about an ad for a car that can influence your purchasing decisions, and having so many memes on a page probably will never factor into making this car investment. It looks fun, I'll give them that, but I just don't see how putting cats and rainbows and Adventure Time is going to convince any adult to buy this car. As a young person who may be able to purchase a vehicle, I would probably avoid Honda after doing this.
2 Such Health Care
Getting young people to want to buy health insurance is important for the healthcare system to work, but I don't think that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services realized how much of a disservice they did to themselves by making this meme. The doggo meme was funny for about three days, and I'm fairly certain that this image was created way past the shelf life of this particular meme. Honestly, looking at this meme made my entire body convulse and I would actively not seek health insurance so I could just end my life if I had to continue in a world of memes as bad as this one. I know that's very dramatic of me to say, but you know what's worse? This meme. I can assure you that no young person was excited to buy health insurance after seeing this image.
1 This Horrendous Campaign
Smoking is bad, there's no getting around that fact, and the amount of young smokers has decreased significantly over the past few decades. The anti-smoking campaign is an important one, but their ads are often so obnoxious and make so little sense, in their efforts to be relatable and engaging to younger kids, that the message gets lost. Take this commercial for example: they hired a bunch of YouTube stars (ugh) to get memed at after they make ignorant claims about casual smoking. I don't think there's anyone out there that would get through the entire commercial before changing the channel to something less annoying. Instead of putting outdated memes into an anti-smoking ad, you could literally just say, "Smoking is bad for you and can cause cancer," and I think the kids will get the message just fine.