It took the industry more than a month to respond to one of 2017’s biggest cultural moments because we, as a profession, aren’t paying attention where it matters. Here Jack Colchester, Senior Data Strategist and Deputy Editor of BBH Labs & Harry Guild, Data Strategist at BBH, outline how the processes driving internet culture can create global fame. 


BBH Social Listening

Man’s Not Hot

Teens React to ‘THE TING GOES SKRRRA’ (MAN’S NOT HOT) – Fire In The Booth

David Bowie interview, 1999 

The Ting Goes Attenborough

Corbyn – The Man’s Not Hot 


5 Responses

  1. Completely agree Jack and Harry. Great video. From time to time my creative partner and I have suggested ideas inspired by internet culture only to be shot down immediately by those higher up who don’t think anyone will ‘get it’. They aren’t keeping up with the audience and by the time they realise it’s often too late.

  2. Totally. Not sure if you’ve seen it, but the /r/fellowkids subreddit is an EXCELLENT example of brands failing to get the internet.
    Just this weekend the BBC One Facebook page had some PAINFUL examples of being way too late trying to be meme-y. Only very few brands really have permission and the right ToV to get away with it, imo.

  3. People searching for a meme does not make it more famous than Trump. Also, it was uploaded to Instagram in May – the Radio 1 Xtra performance was at the end of August (much longer lead time than the ones you mock later) and in terms of sales, it only did well in the UK. I don’t disagree with your basic point, but you use reverse engineering to “prove” that point just like so manny ad industry effectiveness papers.

    And you don’t say what brands could do with it. Olly above makes some good points re that problem. There’s a big danger that you end up selling the meme and not the brand.

    • From Harry and Jack;

      “I’m glad you agree with the basic point. Yep, search interest does not equal fame – we were just using it as a shortcut proxy to contextualise the scale of the meme’s cultural resonance. This isn’t an award paper as much as it is a provocation. But the focus of the video still stands; internet culture should be informing the strategic and creative process of branded communication more often. This does not mean churning out lukewarm memes – it means loaning cultural currency to make work that resonates (see Samsung ad – 52 secs –

      Regarding your point about the May post, this post tracks the spread of a meme, not the conception of the Big Shaq character. Grumpy Cat existed before someone took that photo of it.”

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