Parodies: Yay or Nay For Your Brand?

The internet has fast become the mainstay for modern, global communication. It is the closest the world has come to a media utopia, with all users having relatively equal powers in consuming and publishing information. What constrains this today is access to bandwidth, the availability of bandwidth and the cost of connection.

This given, the ‘egalitarian’ nature of the ‘net is the very thing that has both excited and terrified brands in the information age. The spread of user generated content via the use of memes is incredibly popular. Memes are not new – sharing information this way has been around for years and the internet is ‘sharing on steroids’. The virality of the interwebs means sharing is quick and can easily achieve massive reach.

In terms of memes, consumers create parodies of content published by big brands as a means of asserting their own voice. Although most memes are comedic and can be barbed, parodies also contribute positively to the hype around brands by increased the view of a brand and engagement on brand issues.

The recent Cannes Lions winner, Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches Campaign had over 45 million views at the time of the judging of this global award. Dove’s advertising efforts were one of the notable campaigns where analysts felt that consumers were instrumental in its victory at the awards. The sincerity of this campaign and the human truth shared therein enabled easier connection between consumers and the brand.

This however did not stop the proliferation of parodies on the Internet. The most notable parody of this campaign is the Real Beauty Sketches Men parody featuring men taking part in the Real Beauty Sketches campaign.

Check it out here:

My view is that this in no way undermines the Dove brand – it merely contributes to the debate and chatter that Dove has initiated. What are your thoughts on parodies and advertising in the age of the Internet?