“Harlem Shake Dance” & Marketing

With the unexpected viral spread of YouTube video “Harlem Shake Dance”, many companies, universities, professional sport teams followed this popular internet meme to create their own versions of “Harlem Shake” in order to increase the company, universities or sport teams public awareness. And they have been successful! This creative advertising method is called “Internet Meme Marketing”.

What is an “internet meme”?

The word “meme” was coined by Richard Dawkins who is a famous biologist. In his book “The Selfish Gene”, he coins “meme” which is the cultural version of the gene. That is, memes like genes are transmitted, but in the case of the memes, memes spread quickly in a community, and the strongest ones survive within the environment.

in 2009, Margaret Rouse defines “internet meme” as the cultural phenomenon that spreads from one person to another online. And this meme online could be anything including phrases images, rumors and audio or video files. (Rouse 2009)

In the case of “Harlem Shake”, according to the YouTube-trends.com, there are over 40,000 Harlem shake video posted online and already gathered 175 million views on February 15,2013 so far. And these numbers will continuous increase for sure in the next few months.(Allocca, 2013)

What is “Internet Meme Marketing”?

Internet Meme Marketing obvious means the company using these interesting internet meme images or videos as a base to promote its company’s products. The most successful example in this case would be  the “success Kid”. Virgin Media (UK) purchased this image back in February 2012(The hang line, 2012), and now “he” is everywhere in UK. Here are some pictures about this “kid”,

“Success Kid” in UK billboards

Reminder: Companies should make sure these meme images are legal to use; otherwise, it may cause a serious copyright lawsuit.

What makes “Harlem Shake Dance” special?

1- It allows dancers to dance freely. There are no specific dance moves, unlike another viral dance called Gangnam Style.

2- It allows the incorporation of many people.

3- There is no leading role in the video; everybody could be the leading role.

4- It also requires people to wear creative costume to perform the dance

5- The remix is only 30 second to 1 minute long. Thus, it is very easy to make and no choreography is needed.

What marketing value can “Harlem Shake” video brings to the company?

1- It helps the company create a positive image for itself. Doing a viral video like this shows the company has a friendly and happy working environment that employees in the company are having fun working together.

2- It also shows the energetic side of the company, which makes the company looks young and trendy.

3- It also a great opportunity for small business companies to increase its brand awareness.

Alright~Harlem Shake, please be quick, make it now! Here are some examples of “Harlem Shake”:


Work cited

Allocca, K. (2013, 2 12). The Harlem Shake Has Exploded (Updated). Retrieved from YouTube-trends: http://youtube-trends.blogspot.ca/2013/02/the-harlem-shake-has-exploded.html

Rouse, M. (2009). What is an Internet meme? Retrieved from WhatIs.com: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Internet-meme

Thehangline. (2012, 7 2). Success Kid Meme Gets Even Bigger. Retrieved from Paper Blog: http://en.paperblog.com/success-kid-meme-gets-even-bigger-259077/


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