Planking: How We Leveraged A Meme & Earned Online “Street Cred” In Under 45 Minutes.
What is Planking: Planking is the act of lying face down with arms to the sides in unusual public spaces and photographing it to share online. In form, it is nearly identical to the Lying Down Game, which became popular in the United Kingdom in 2010. Originally a spinoff of two similar memes, the “Lying Down Game” and “Playing Dead”, planking found strong footing with the teens of Australia and after the start of a Facebook group promoting the activity. The term “planking” is credited to Paul Carran, a New Zealander who lives in Australia and began planking after hearing about similar games his friends were playing in the UK. - Knowyourmeme.com
If you’ve never heard of “planking” then chances are you were very confused and maybe even a bit disturbed last week when we posted pictures of our various employees engaged in the online phenomena. At first glance you might have thought we were just having a good ole Gate6 time clowning around in the office. But what you probably didn’t know is that we were, like many companies in the digital space, trying to capitalize and leverage a burgeoning online meme. To better understand why we would want to participate in such a silly activity you first have to understand what a meme is.
Memes are defined by Wikipedia as:
So in other words a meme is an online “viral” trend which usually explodes with a bang but eventually fizzles out into a distant but often humorous memory (See Antoine Dodson). The hope is that you catch the meme while it’s still trendy and ride whatever wave you can. It goes without saying that there are many dangers involved in this. For starters, you never want to appear to be trying too hard and to be perfectly honest it’s not very wise to make a practice out of chasing trends. But even after all that is said, if you can somehow create some buzz by piggybacking off a current meme then it’s all definitely worth it.
Like many memes, planking had its start across the waters before making its way to the United States. However, the unique thing about planking is what happened to it after its initial burnout. Seemingly dead after reaching a peak, planking resurged suddenly when a series of events, most notably and unfortunately the death of 20-year-old Australian Acton Beale. This incident along with several others propelled planking back into the internet meme forefront, which is when we decided to jump on it while we still could. In terms of effort and planning It was extremely easy to do and cost us nothing which made our results well worth the 45 minutes it took to excute and post our planks online.
I would say for something that cost us 0 dollars and 45 minutes of clowning around, we did in fact capitalize on this meme.
What are your thoughts on trying to capitalize on viral trends? Are they worth pursuing and if so why?
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