Pseudodoxology: Memes are advertisers' market research

This is one of those podcast episodes you listen to and say to yourself: “That was interesting.”

Then another part of you says, “Oh really? Why’s that?”

So that first part of you says, “I don’t know exactly…”

Kantbot and Logo Daedalus (his buddy who I don’t really understand yet) just have a long conversation. It didn’t seem to have any intent as it opened. They just put the mic on and started talking.

The big picture is “neo-liberalism is a real thing” and has been created through a global conspiracy, but not a “men in a dark room conspiracy.” I find this is a (good) point Kantbot likes to pound on: a conspiracy can simply arise in an emergent fashion when a group of people with some power have interests that align.

The American health insurance industry is an historical accident, for example, but we can’t shake it now.

Smaller picture, there’s a million smaller pictures in this pastiche of philosophical imagery. Here’s the one I remember: there’s been a meme going around the internet lately where two images are juxtaposed and one is labeled “reject modernity” and the other is labelled “embrace tradition.”

You could, for example, make:

Reject modernity: 🙂
Embrace tradition: :)

That would work (that example was stolen from a Drake meme I stumbled on while scrolling through the Modernity memes, by the way — don’t credit me for too much cleverness).

Anyway Budweiser did this with a photo of Bud Lite and Budweiser cans. It blew a lot of people’s minds and they shared it like crazy (I’m not gonna because ➡️). I think a decent number of people thought it was sort of brave on the marketing teams part, or at least surprisingly tuned in. I saw it. I thought it was solidly funny and felt surprised in much the same way.

But Logo points out that this is just what capitalism is good at. Capitalism can make anything work for it. All these product teams have to do now is look for memes that are taking off and plug their products into them. It’s especially easy, he argued, because so many memes come down to some version of: “I don’t like that but I do like this.”

That’s a good enough point that it’s worth writing down.