How to Create 10 Categories of Sensational, Viral Memes.
Creating memorable memes can help to make you an internet sensation.
The internet has gone meme crazy over the last 8 years or so. As crude, lame or ridiculous as they may seem, we just can't get enough of them!
So what makes a meme an overnight success? I've identified some key elements that have gone into some of the world's most popular memes in ten of the most widely seen categories.
The "Mascot" Meme
These type of memes are usually created to represent a personality type, certain events unfolding or for nothing more than pure ridicule.
A mascot that's been circulating across the net for a long time now is "Grumpy Cat". It all began with a photo of a specific cat going viral for it's incredibly unimpressed and grumpy expression, as commonly seen with this breed. Since, there has been numerous images of Grumpy Cats with sarcastic and often highly violent captions. If you like dark humour, you will love some of these!
To create a mascot, you need to first outline what that character will represent and how it should be portrayed to best demonstrate that. It can be in any format as long as it's a visually striking character who's personality does all the talking even without text. Animals make great mascots due to their lack of inhibition in most scenarios.
The "Relatable" Meme
Humans just love content that they can relate to; whether it's having a bad hair day, tripping over a curb and landing face first on concrete in front of their crush or spilling coffee all over their work brief and questioning their existence, we feel a little better knowing that others are having to contend with the same kind of nonsense that we are.
Hence the soaring popularity of relatable memes. The key here is seeking an example that hasn't already been done to death and finding the perfect visual accompaniment.
The Movie Meme
Ah Bean! If anyone knows what a meme legacy looks like, it's Hollywood actor Sean Bean. This meme came from a screenshot during his iconic 'Mordor' speech from Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring movie and has been doing the rounds for years now.
While Mr Bean has accidentally become a meme icon, there's something that can be learnt from this. Embrace your most dramatic photos as they could become the perfect backdrop for an extensive catalogue of memes.
The Television Show Meme
I don't doubt that a number of TV memes have been created by Netflix subscribers. Not sure why exactly, but the die hard Netflixer just gives me that impression... They seem to take their Netflix time more seriously than the 'Chill' aspect that they would have you believe. Anyway, back to the topic at hand! There have been literally hundreds of shows turned into memes, some of the most popular ones are Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Star Trek etc. There's usually specific frames that people love to use over and over as they are generally the most intense, animated or funny looking. For the sake of this demonstration, I give you exhibit A...
Everyone knows SpongeBob Squarepants, the kids TV show that is completely nonsensical from concept to completion. While Spongebob is a lovable yet obscenely goofy character, seeing him in such a mocking stance takes the ridiculousness factor to new heights. This freeze frame has exploded over the net recently, with users captioning the image with all sorts of dialogue and mocking commentary.
It just goes to show that it doesn't have to be brand new material, you can revisit something that people have missed and yet, by bringing to their attention it can instantly become highly memorable.
The "Retro" Meme
Embarrassed by your old school photos? Sick of mum digging out the family albums to show the love of your life? Sometimes, what was once a humiliating piece of nostalgia can actually be used in your favour.
There a number of retro looking portraits floating across the net in the form of memes, it's highly probable that you've seen this one.
While the guy depicted here may cringe at the fact he's become a global meme, by embracing it you can create an audience who appreciates your good natured humour and ability to not take things too seriously, including yourself. However, choose wisely as to which photo you use, no one needs to see your drunken 16 year old butt emerging from the sand!
The "5 Year Old's Drawing" Meme
Even badly illustrated memes have found internet success! When it comes to creating a kick ass meme, you don't need to be the next Obey Giant. It's about conveying the message in the simplest way possible.
Cereal Guy does just that. You will find this character attached with all sorts of scenarios. Creating a universal character that everyone can use is a great way to connect with a much larger audience, particularly if you are an artist or a video blogger. The more accessible a meme is, the better!
The Celebrity Meme
While many users love talking about celebrities online and following their social accounts, they also love creating memes about them. Some are flattering but mostly, they tend to be otherwise; a frame that depicts a highly unflattering posture or an event taking place, an off the cuff observation that changes your view of them forever etc.
My advice? Take a look at trending topics, upcoming live events that will be recorded and photo galleries, you'd be surprised at what gems can turn up!
The Embarrassing Moment Meme
Embarrassing moments come and go throughout our life time. However, some (unfortunately) are immortalised in photo and / or video format. While we try to avoid such moments, sometimes it's better to just embrace the chaos and go with the flow.
Unsurprisingly, the world has witnessed many cringeworthy moments via social media, the press and television. Sometimes, it's just worth grabbing that perfect moment to summarise the head shaking nature of a situation.
The Sarcastic Meme
Ah yes, sarcasm! The sassiest of memes incorporate a strong dose of pure sarcasm.
Sure, there's enough face palm moments in life to bust out a seriously sarcastic meme, but it's best to reserve it for a true bang-your-head-on-a-desk moment, especially one that occurs frequently and tends to drive people up the wall! The best kind of sarcastic meme involves wit and a sharp tongued delivery. Keep it punchy and precise.
The "Dark Side of the Force" Meme
If you're like me and enjoy dark humour, nothing does the 'devil on the shoulder' meme quite like "Evil Kermit". Everyone knows that we as human beings have opposing thoughts and very much have to contend with our own inner evil kermit.
This meme is genius for the fact that it takes a beloved character that is known for being innately good and flipping things on it's head by introducing Kermit's evil sith-like twin. With the presence of one simple shot, the number of captions created by users is staggering. It's a great formula to work with as a baseline. See how you can further develop the concept with your own characters, captions and new ways of portraying a similar scene.
Already a meme master? If you have created memes of your own, please leave a comment with the link to your posted meme. I will add my absolute favourites to my social accounts accrediting your user tag.