8 Weeks | Team Project | Social Experiment | Production | Content Creation | Research | Strategy
Fancy Camera Equipment
The Quick Read
People are using self-deprecating, humorous memes to cope with topics such as anxiety, depression, or any other hardship life may bring. Today, people find comfort in using a meme’s simplistic form to express their complex emotions in place of telling their loved ones what they’re struggling with internally.
Oftentimes sending a meme to a friend or family member has the potential to be a meaningful conversation. Instead, the sender and receiver bond over shared struggles through “lols” and “hahas” without addressing the issue directly. An opportunity exists to shift behaviors surrounding meme sharing from a form of passive, emotional expression to a launchpad of delicate discussion.
The Meme Complex: A social organization with an awareness campaign focused on encouraging people to unpack their feelings behind the memes they relate to so much.
Don’t Just Tag, Talk.
WHO WE ARE
Everyone loves memes. Why? Because they’re so #relatable. But what is it that makes us go, “ugh, same.” We found that the memes that hit us the hardest were the ones that directly correlated to not only how we were feeling in the moment, but also to some of our deepest fears and insecurities.
While sharing memes is easy, sharing our emotions can be difficult. Why not realize that by sharing memes, we are already doing both, we just need to talk about it.
Our goal is simple: Think about the memes you send and receive.
Is it just a meme? Or is there sh*t behind it.
Press play to watch video
Proving there's sh*t behind the meme.
We set out to talk to everyday people like ourselves as a way to support and validate our hypothesis: There’s sh*t behind the meme. Our process included:
1 Tabling Session
2 Man on the Street Interview Sessions
1 Talkin Memes Party
Tabling + Man on the Street Interviews
For this method we stopped and talked to strangers on the streets. We presented each person with our famous Meme Binder and had each individual flip through to choose the meme that resonated with them most on that day.
After they selected their meme, we asked them a series of questions to better understand their mindsets, feelings, and behaviors when sending memes to family and friends. Each conversation was captured on camera.
Swipe to view Meme Binder photos
Meet the People
Talkin Memes Party
For the party, we switched up our approach. We invited a group of friends over for a happy hour. Yes, we provided food. And we provided drinks. But we also gave these friends one task: pick a meme and talk about it amongst each other.
Our goal was to get them to voice their real feelings behind the meme through group discussion. We documented the party and discussion from start to finish on camera.
Press play to watch Talkin Memes Party video
We printed out memes from the Meme Binder, glued them to boards, and hung the boards in the apartment.
Instruction cards were given to guide the group and allow them to self-facilitate as much as possible to prevent us from having to interfere as much.
Post-it notes were used to mark which memes people related to most.
Instruction Cards and Sticky Notes
We reached back out to the people we interviewed to see if their perspective on memes had changed since we spoke to them last. The results were overwhelmingly positive.
Click to read testimonials
Building a better mental health community on Instagram
We developed an Instagram page strategically designed to look like another ordinary memes page. When a viewer taps into a post they are presented with a meme first, and a photo of a person second after swiping left. Captions are quotes from the featured individual who selected the meme in the post.
Comment Importance: Comments under the post serve as a way to build community and start dialogue among people who have similar emotions.
Quote Importance: Symbolizes how the featured individual took a step in vocalizing their emotions behind the most relatable meme.
Our logo is simplistic in its color palette and design. The overlapping of the letter C and the letter O represents how The Meme Complex encourages interaction between people and value the importance of face-to-face communication between people.
What we'd love to do next with The Meme Complex
We want to continue building out Instagram content by:
Collecting new and fresh memes that lead to conversations
Launching an Instagram story/selfie video submission segment
We want to launch a website that houses longer forms of content for our audience such as a Blog submission feature
We would love to have the campaign live organically and shift from creating content to curating content.
In the future, we hope to have gained enough traction and engagement to where we do not have to rely on asking for submissions.
Why This Works
Our campaign has increased awareness surrounding how our culture uses memes to distill down complex emotions. The organization we launched gives people the power to voice how they feel by increasing vulnerability and building a community rooted in furthering conversations that need to be had.
Working on the The Meme Complex project was fun. Our energy as a group was amazing and it was exciting to work on something that we could all relate to. We’d all been in a situation where we’d sent a meme to a friend or family member to voice our frustrations about life. I think what’s special about this campaign is its growth potential. I believe people would naturally gravitate towards this because we’ve all been there.
Julia Scoper (Copywriter)
Sophie Lichtman (Copywriter)
Jenna Anderson (Art Director)
Me (Experience Designer)
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Thanks for the read!
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