Meme Coins: Joke or Genius?
Shiba Inu joined the Metaverse with LEASH, the native token of its unreleased virtual realm, up 40%. Dubbed the “Doge Killer” by its own developers, LEASH is just one of many crypto memes that have attracted millions of dollars in investments.
Imagine viewing all this splendor as an outside observer: all dog pictures, space rockets, Moon, with market capitalization in the millions. Pretty crazy isn’t it?
Memecoin critics often see them as nothing more than a pump-and-dumping scheme rooted in absurdity, and some of them are. But for many meme coins, there’s more to a meme than a simple joke. Memes act as a form of marketing for them, generating more buzz around their token, but not as its whole selling point.
It is important to note that the meme is not a crypto-specific marketing tool. Meme-marketing is becoming increasingly relevant as Millennials and Generation Z earn more to spend. To interact with customers, companies need to speak their language, and for the next generations of consumers, that language is a meme.
Memes and marketing
Derived from Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book “The Selfish Gene,” the original definition of a meme was an idea, behavior, or style that spread from person to person within a culture.. Memes attract attention and spread ideas across different industries.
Clothing giants, such as Gucci, jumped on this idea by using memes on social media to promote products and engage their audiences. On the food industry front, Chipotle joined the meme trend by slapping a cute face on their guacamole to draw attention to their cheap prices. Even Netflix is known for posting memes that tease their characters to promote their content along with many other companies..
What distinguishes meme-driven ads in crypto is the unique community that gathers around them. The crypto industry has developed its own meme dialect, incorporating several popular non-cryptocurrency memes, as well as the well-known Dogecoin, while creating its own meme-driven visuals. The crypto sphere’s famous greedy rallying cry, “To the Moon,” has apparently even played a role in shaping marketing strategies and even names. 2TM, the parent company of Brazil’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Mercado Bitcoin, is named after the tagline.
Understanding crypto meme culture is key to the success of any crypto project, regardless of whether it’s seen as a meme or a groundbreaking solution to a real-world problem.
Not all memes are created equal
But be warned, not every meme-driven coin ends up being successful — far from it. Some of them, like the famous Squid Coin, proved to be nothing more than a scam that took advantage of a popular culture trend. The reverse is also true: Not all meme coins have absolutely nothing to offer but the meme. Memes aren’t all that Gucci, Chipotle and Netflix are selling you, but they are their language of choice to get the message across. The same goes for many crypto projects.
There is an important distinction that needs to be made between the two types of meme coin release projects. Some developer groups want nothing but a bandwagon to join, while others use memes to connect with their communities in the languages they’re associated with.
Dogecoin, the undisputed king of the coin degens meme, leverages the meme image but offers less utility than that. Other coins dig deeper, surpassing Internet lore and providing real utility, like Oz Finance’s TOTOZ token. Using Wizard of Oz themes to describe its own mobility-focused vision, it also provides users with population status in special economic zones around the globe.
Other tokens, like RichQuack, mock those who see crypto as a get-rich-quick scheme and try to promote sustainability: The project recently announced plans to launch Earthling, a project incubated to help end deforestation. By bringing together shared ideas, these token communities thrive.
Not all memes offer real utility and primarily serve the profits of their makers who are looking to monetize an important online trend or joke. But other projects use the meme as a savvy marketing tool, just as mainstream companies do.
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