Marketing to teens, tweens, and and younger millennials makes a ton of sense. Their parents have money and will buy stuff for them, so it makes sense to get them all into something.
However, marketing directly to younger groups, who are pretty proud of their memes; 4Chan and Reddit jokes; and purposefully not including anyone older than them, can be a slippery slope.
Companies or institutions actively trying to market or relate to a younger demographic can put up some content that can backfire hilariously or ironically simply work in that company’s favor because it’s so bad it’s good.
This is called the #FellowKids phenomenon, which comes from this “30 Rock” clip.
Here are some of our favorite #FellowKids examples:
There’s nothing like Good Morning America trying to do a straight up round up of the most popular memes of the year to result in some cringe. You’ll notice that Kermit is a frog, not a lizard.
One of the easiest ways to nudge yourself into #FellowKids territory is to start using that sweet lingo you see on the Twitters.
Start them young. The purpose of memes are to succinctly get a message across using a reusable and relatable image. Simply putting words on pictures using the Impact font is going to draw some cringes.
This one is from CNN’s Snapchat account, which is just trying too hard and probably got more than a few audible renditions of “Seriously!?!?”
Trying to remain relevant can come off as super duper cringey.
Remember when we said that sometimes these things are so bad they are good? Well, this one is either super intentionally bad or is just so bad it’s great.
Same with this one. If you can pull off the #FellowKids meme that is so bad that people will say, “You know what? Screw it, I’m going to get some Twisties,” then you have done your job. This is much harder than it looks.
If you don’t know who that guy riding the bicycle is, we’re not going to get into it, however, Bagel Bites decided that it’d be a good way to sell Bagel Bites.
High school posters are an absolute goldmine. Is there a company that churns out these things? I’d love to be in a brainstorming session.
Bagel Bites has to know how awful they are at this point and simply does not care.
And there you have it.
Listen, there’s never not going to be a time where not relating to a market results in some funny results. The best way to deal with these if your company ever makes a #FellowKids worth meme, is to roll with it. The worst thing a company can do is take themselves too seriously in this situation and backtrack, delete, or even worse, result in a negative exchange between those commenting.