Can Memes by Brands and Government Bodies be Dank? Singapore’s Memelords Have Thoughts

Top image: Mediacorp / Facebook

Of recent years, corporate and government suits have realised that hopping on meme culture is a pretty viable marketing strategy to connect with The Youth, that holy grail of age demographics. And so you see these unlikely, domineering entities churning out memes with the same vivacity as Steve Buscemi in a backwards baseball cap asking “How do you do fellow kids?” 

Arguably, the anarchic soul of meme culture fades away when used for something else other than elicit laughs. Internet memes spawned from the carefree and self-aware nature of early internet communities, with the idea that everything is user-generated. So all that countercultural charm? Yeah, it diminishes when memes are just vehicles to promote products, services, policies and other corporate-y messages. 

Nonetheless, memes as marketing tools aren’t going anywhere so long as the internet exists. But local brands and government bodies deserve a fighting chance if they want to be “fellow kids” though. To aid them in their quest for internet points, RICE gathered a panel of local experts in the field — A Better World By Memes, Kiasu Memes for Singaporean Teens, Memedef, Memes N Dreams and SG Meme Textbook — for some professional critiques, tips and tricks. 



Ayam Brand
“…sounds like an old man told his team to make memes”

Credit: Ayam Brand / Facebook

 

A Better World By Memes

Memeworthiness: 0/5
What is the meaning?? After doing something I sing Doe a deer? I run around the fields? Is any of that even funny?? Picture has too many interpretations so idk what the joke is. Also the fact that u have 2 separate unfunny memes building up to the actual Ayam Brand™ joke makes it even worse.

Areas for improvement
The galaxy brain meme, although still unfunny, will make much more sense than this hot garbage.

Kiasu Memes for Singaporean Teens

Memeworthiness: 1/5
Impact font image macros in 2021 are way way way way way too old. It’s like a boomer saying wa what’s that cool thing kids like to do now? And you think it may be dabbing even though that’s a bit old but they’re actually thinking of planking.

Areas for improvement
Change agency. Why is the sound of music even relevant? 0 relatable. 0 locality. sounds like an old man told his team to make memes and he said this is what i saw.

Memes N Dreams

Memeworthiness: 2/5
2 points given for effort in trying to create feelings of relatability with the target audience — but these experiences mentioned e.g. “this is me after cleaning my room/clearing my emails” might be too generic and does not invoke much humour. The lack of wit and humour does not incite people to want to share this meme.

Areas for improvement
Use a variety of other meme templates as the one being used is very simple and literal.



Hougang NPC
“…the heart’s in the right place”

Credit: Hougang NPC / Facebook

 

Memedef

Memeworthiness: 2.5/5
I feel like Hougang NPC has really put out some fire memes in the past. Really good job by the team over there. In terms of format I think it’s great and there’s a lot of potential.

Areas for improvement
One tip is to remember that jokes/punchlines have a rhythm to them, so if we have one word in the first panel: “don’t”, it’s generally good to juxtapose that with something longer like… “Don’t.” “Don’t what?” “Don’t think just because low crime means no crime”. Something like that.

Kiasu Memes for Singaporean Teens

Memeworthiness: 2/5
The NPCs have been going on some weird meme/social content warpath. In the wake of its absurdity, some true gems have been spawned. This is not one of them. But the heart’s in the right place, and maybe boomer memes speak to boomers.

Areas for improvement
Don’t just use the captions but understand the context behind it to add a deeper level of reference.

Memes N Dreams

Memeworthiness: 5/5
Humorous, and gets the intended message across efficiently. Meme template is also used correctly.

Areas for improvement
Using Instagram story as a meme editor… can be quite low effort and downplays the aestheticity of the meme. Can consider using proper photo editing apps like Canva, or meme template editors like Mematic.



Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment
“Good choice and execution. Approved.”

Credit: Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment / Facebook

 

A Better World By Memes

Memeworthiness: 5/5
This meme is a great example of modifying how a meme format is used to keep it relevant. Basically a meme format dies when it has been overused to shit, so changing the way it is used will keep it fresh and extend its lifespan. “Man of culture” meme is usually used to highlight certain perceived “cultured” behaviour, but in this case the “culture” is referring to bacteria so it is unexpected hence funny. Good choice and execution. Approved.

Memedef

Memeworthiness: 3/5
Yeah I like this one. Good play on “culture” as well but I think it might have gone over the heads of the mainstream audience. This is something I would share personally but I think it’s a “heh” and not a big laugh.

SG Meme Textbook

Memeworthiness: 3/5
Meme was used in a wrong context. However, credits on the unique take on the word ‘cultured’ in the form of kombucha. Took me some time to get what this meme meant tho hahaha.

Areas for improvement
Felt that it might be better to use an infographic to educate people about homemade kombucha instead (or just buy if you lazy to ownself make). Memes that feature Water Wally and Sally would be interesting to see. 🙂



Mediacorp
“…like a comic strip created by a 10-year-old discovering powerpoint”

Credit: Mediacorp / Facebook

 

Memedef

Memeworthiness: 1/5
What is with the font?????

A Better World By Memes

Memeworthiness: 1/5
The use of the old school WordArt text is interesting. Usually it is accompanied by deep-fried emojis/laser eyes to make the meme ironic, but the absence of any of these makes it look like a comic strip created by a 10-year-old discovering powerpoint for the first time.

Areas for improvement
Using unconventional elements like WordArt text is risky as u have to make sure that the reader understands how it adds to your meme or u risk your meme just being a clusterfuck of unrelated abstract art. Otherwise just stick to the tried and tested top caption bottom pic format.

Kiasu Memes for Singaporean Teens

Memeworthiness: 0/5
“This is what the kids today call an epic fail” – Saul Goodman, Better Call Saul.

This is exactly what I thought would happen when I saw the maymay-in-chief position. horribly forced unfunny maymays just because [the executives] upstairs “I see this new maymay the kids like, maybe we should use” but fail to understand the basis of memes and counterculture.

Areas for improvement
Idk, ‘A’ for effort on the powerpoint WordArt but ‘F’ to my brain for having to see that.

SG Meme Textbook

Memeworthiness: -99999/5
WTF this is not even a meme lmao. Felt the guy doing this probably felt that memes are ‘images with fanciful edits’, hence the font which reminded me of WordArt. Not funny, didn’t laugh, wanted to facepalm really badly when seeing this ‘meme’. 🤦‍♂‍

Areas for improvement
Just get ppl like SGAG to create branded content for you to promote your dramas lmao.



Lazada

“I don’t get what this meme is conveying at all”

Credit: Lazada / Facebook

 

Memes N Dreams

Memeworthiness: 4.5/5
Humorous; very relevant and apt in view of the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities. Half point taken off because it’s not too certain what is the intended message of this meme.

Areas for improvement
There could be a clearer call-to-action — directing people to the Lazada site, sharing exclusive discount codes etc. Nevertheless, it’s a funny and light-hearted meme to share around and remind people that Lazada has a CNY event on their platform.

SG Meme Textbook

Memeworthiness: 0/5
Honestly, I don’t get what this meme is conveying at all. Even my friend who I asked to help decipher this meme didn’t get it. The caption of this meme did nothing to help make me understand this meme.

Areas for improvement
Using images of Lazada’s CNY TV Ad to create memes might be a better choice as compared to an (lonely) ox which looked quite sad in my opinion.

Kiasu Memes for Singaporean Teens

Memeworthiness: 0/5
hi every1 im new!!!!!!! *holds up spork* my name is katy but u can call me t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m!!!!!!!! lol…as u can see im very random!!!! thats why i came here, 2 meet random ppl like me ^_^… im 13 years old (im mature 4 my age tho!!) i like 2 watch invader zim w/ my girlfreind (im bi if u dont like it deal w/it) its our favorite tv show!!! bcuz its SOOOO random!!!! shes random 2 of course but i want 2 meet more random ppl =) like they say the more the merrier!!!! lol…neways i hope 2 make alot of freinds here so give me lots of commentses!!!!
DOOOOOMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <— me bein random again ^_^ hehe…toodles!!!!!

love and waffles,

t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m

Areas for improvement
Change agency. If you look at the engagement, you can tell from the super high amount of likes and low amount of shares, comments and reactions that it’s a paid-for engagement boost. These vanity numbers serve nothing more than to pad egos and fluff up bottom line numbers. And they paid for that.

Are these memes cringeworthy enough to put you off memes for good? Let us know at community@ricemedia.co.

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