New Marketing Trends

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Capitalizing on Cultural Memes

We all notice memes and cultural touchstones that circulate in our respective worlds. They used to come in the form of email jokes that we forwarded; now social media has made them even easier to share. 

I'm happy to see not only individual librarians, but also library organizations, get in on the act. Here's a big one I just saw. (Backstory: In a U.S. presidential debate 2 days ago, Mitt Romney made a poorly worded comment about "binders full of women." That phrase has been picked up, and picked on, by many. Toronto's "Star" coverage includes the video clip from the debate, as well as images of other hilarious instances of the viral meme.)

Via Facebook, I discovered that the Toronto Public Library's Reference Blog joined the meme -- in a very savvy and promotional way. These clever Canadians found a humorous way to capitalize on the meme while legitimately promoting some special reference collections (which are, of course, stored in binders). 

Pictures of women--in binders!--in
 Toronto PL's Arts & Fashion collection.
Kudos, Toronto PL!!

Doing this kind of promotion demands that you work at the speed of the internet. You need to have social-savvy staffers and a permissive culture. Those qualities allow your organization to prove that it's keeping up with the times. Can you make that happen?

What are your favorite memes? Which have your library participated in?

1 comment:

Elizabeth Yates said...

I created Hey, girl meme for the Canadian Health Libraries Association conference in June. It was a big hit with our younger members.
Some of the jokes are specific to health librarianship, but others are universal-- enjoy:

I'd also like to use memes for some of our library signage, but that's a bit too radical -- for now.