Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nyan Cat - Noriko Yamasaki

Nyan Cat is one of Internet’s most famous meme that was uploaded on April 2011 as a YouTube video. This video depicts an animation of a cartoon cat with the body of a Pop Tart flying through outer space with a rainbow shooting from behind. The background music of the video is a Japanese pop song called “Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya!" by Hatsune Miku and the animation was posted by Christopher Torres1.

Original Video

I think Nyan Cat became popular for its catchy repetitive high pitched yet cartoon like song. With the combination of the smiling cute GIF cat that prances across the universe, it also lets the viewer think he/she is part of a game.
Another reason Nyan Cat went viral because the video just does not make sense to people. They question why the cat’s body is a Pop Tart and why there is a trail of rainbow while the cat is flying in outer space. In addition, after a while, the song becomes quite annoying and remains stuck in one’s head for sometime, hence, it is fun to show this video to people as a form of joke.

According to Google Insights, the video peaked its popularity/interest by the viewer on June 2011, one month after its upload onto the web. Then there was a dip on September 2011, but then interest was regained in October of 2011. Gradually after that, there was a slow decrease in interest over time but it safe to say that there is still a significant interest in the viral video2.

The Nyan Cat video was also placed ninth in Business Insider’s top ten viral videos in April of 20113. Today, the original YouTube video has received 103, 969, 957 views as of November 28, 20134. Along with the videos popularity there has been new remixes, cover versions, and parody videos. Extending off of Nyan Cat’s popularity other memes that have emerged from this is Nyan Cat games wherethere is an officially licensed game called “Nyan Cat Adventure” owned by 21st Street games5.  Nyan Cat is now everywhere, whether it is painted on walls of a subway station, people making reaction videos to watching Nyan Cat.

Caption: Who left the Tubes again?
Text Box:

Work Cited:

1. Thazar, B., 2011. POP Profile: The Guy Behind The Viral Phenomenon “Nyan Cat”. Available at:

2. Google Insights: Nyan Cat. Available at:

3. Wei, W., 2011. Top viral videos of April: What’s A “Nyan Cat. Available at:

4. saraj00n, April 5 2011. Nyan Cat [original] Available at:

Harlem Shake - Siddhant Puri

The “Harlem Shake” now refers to two different things - the actual Harlem Shake was a dance that was closely tied to the history and culture of the neighborhood Harlem in New York and the internet phenomena that started in February 2013. Unfortunately, most people are only familiar with the latter.

Diving into a little history, the Harlem Shake was started in the 80s by Albert Leopold Boyce. He used to perform is as part of the half-time show at basketball games. It came to be known as ‘The Al B’. It was simple dance routine that involved pivoting the shoulders while popping the other shoulder out at the same time. Popular dance crews in the neighbourhood adopted it and it reached its peak in 2001 when it was featured in P.Diddy and Jadakiss songs.

However, the song reemerged as a youtube craze when in February 2013 Bauer released his song the Harlem Shake. What came as a result was a series of videos that started with an indirvidual dancing alone and 30 seconds into the video erupted into a giant party. The video took the internet like wildfire. Here is the original video:

The video amassed 300,00 views in the first 24 hours and caused many more parodies to emerge. Universities across america, sports teams,  cops, you name it everyone had their very own rendition of the ‘Harlem Shake’.

When asked about the video, Harlem residents pointed out that viral videos had no relation to the originial Harlem Shake and found it disrespectful to their culture.

Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop – Kimiya Hojjat

In the Fall of 2011, Americans everywhere engaged in the Occupy Movement. They held post on university campuses and streets demanding a change in society to decrease the gap between the rich and the poor. They tried to spread awareness about the inequality within our economy and the unjust treatment by the government. Socially engaged universities held much of this protest. At UC Berkeley, we saw an uprising of students demanding justice as they camped out on campus against police requests. We also saw this same motion at other universities, including UC Davis. However, despite the police brutality and student resistance abound, UC Davis solidified a name for themselves as a centerpiece of the Occupy Movement’s absurdity…or rather, what we have now come to accept as internet humor. The “Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop” depicts an image of a police officer nonchalantly pepper spraying a row of UC Davis students resisting their orders. The students are not aggressive, there is no combat,  and the only movement we see really, is that of the cop’s sauntering, casually attempting to dominate the human chain. 

This image proceeded to grow out of its original context and define any moment in which an absurdly offhanded pepper spray offense takes place, or seems humorously appropriate. Hundreds of photo-shopped images were shared online, most of which placed the infamous antagonist into various milestones of American history. For instance, Lt. John Pike, the infamous cop here, is photo-shopped onto the 1819 Declaration of Independence painting by John Trumbull. In images like these, Lt. Pike is to stand as symbol of degradation, carelessly trying to destruct that which makes our nation strong. At first it was the social power of our universities’ youth and now it is anything which stands as a perfectly reasonable and respected force of a parade, rained on by the unrelenting and brash police.

This meme is not only popular due to the sheer absurdity it exalts, but also because of its greater message of injustice and how frankly absurd the government can be. The image proliferated at a time when the buzz surrounding its context was thriving and there were hordes of college students ( the majority of the internet population) involved in the story, communicating about it, sharing it. When the digital word of humor coincides with the real world at a time when social context strives to augment the message/humor of memes, we see the greatest connection and growth. The meme served as a backlash for the cop involved, as well as for the whole situation in general. This simply goes to show that when the absurdity is illuminated as a trending meme online, the meaning of the image changes. It is taken out of context and elevated as something greater, as a symbol of the lack of social justice in America and a means by which college students and comparable cohorts can all relate to each other. 

The meme’s popularity died down as the Occupy movement and backlash died down (note the Google Insight analytics above), however not without first becoming a part of a greater sensation.  Soon news reports that sought to delicately exonerate the obviously-out-of-place cop became captioned images of this same sense of nonchalentness in regarding the greater issue at hand. Additionally, pepper spray as a product came to be known as a meme in itself. On November 21st 2011, Amazon reviewers began commenting spoof reviews for the specific brand of pepper spray canister used in the incident. They would post humorous comments such as, Whenever I need to breezily inflict discipline on unruly citizens, I know I can trust Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray to get the job done! The power of reason is no match for Defense Technology’s superior repression power.” Again, all of these meme extensions serve to stand as examples of internet attacks against irrational mentalities. We find I funny and share it as humorous material, because it is relatable and relevant. Surely, I have seen plenty of my friends share the adapted, “Don’t mind me, just watering my hippies!” version as a means to note both their sympathy and their responsibility- to be involved in something so relevant, to spread word of it and understand it.

Paula Deen Riding Things - Aliza Levin

I chose to analyze the “Paula Deen Riding Things” meme. This particular meme became popular in February of 2011 after a food festival where Paula Deen was photographed riding another chef celebrity, Robert Irvine. The day after the event, the image was posted on various popular media websites, and within days, the image went viral. Paula Deen’s figure and position was cut out of the photo and photoshopped into more images and photos than imaginable. I think this particular meme became so popular simply because of Deen’s positioning and expression in the image. It’s not often that you see a celebrity publicly do something outside of social norms, especially riding another celebrity. The public loves moments like these, and does not hesitate to use them for their own entertainment.

            This image of Paula Deen in this meme is from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on February 27th, 2011, and originated on Tumblr on February 28th. At the event, Robert Irvine got down on his hands and knees, and Paula Deen proceeded to sit on his back, with wine in hand. This image of Deen was taken and used completely out of context – riding a hotdog, riding Jimmy Fallon’s shoulder during a run, and many, many more. The image became popular towards the end of February and beginning of March. On February 28th (just one day after the event), the image of Deen was posted on Buzzfeed, Uproxx, MSNBC, FARK, and the New York Post. And on March 1st, it became incredibly popular on Twitter because of a tweet from Jimmy Fallon in which he attached a link to the Tumblr blog. Following Fallon’s tweet, the meme trended in several other blogs and websites, such as Food Network Humor and the Huffington Post. “Paula Deen Riding Things” eventually made it on the list of Top Ten Memes of 2011. According to Google Insights, the meme hit its peak in the beginning of March of 2011.

            A variety of memes emerged from this meme, of Paula Deen essentially riding anything and everything. She appears riding shoulders, various foods, and on mounds of butter (referencing her excessive use of butter). Both formal blogs and the general public chose to take the cropped image of her to extremes, and placed her in some of the most outrageous yet creative memes.

'Bert is Angry' - Alex Krzyzosiak

In 1998, the ‘Bert is Angry’ meme trend began to become popular when Dino Ignacio created a website where Sesame Street character Bert was photoshopped into old historical photographs were uploaded to the site. The images on were meant to be funny and the Project was called Bert is Evil because there was there was a belief that Bert was evil. For example there were images of Bert as part of the KKK as well as being involved in the JFK assassination (see images). The great success of this trend was no doubt due to the fact that these images of Bert in unexpected places/photographs was that people could easily photoshop their own photographs and were also able to easily share them with the rest of the world thus helped the trend grow even more.

However, although ‘Bert is Evil’ became very popular and hit an all time high around 2001 because of 9/11, the trend began to die down and decline in popularity around 2004. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

GoPro - Siddhant Puri

I decided to analyze GoPro's effective social media marketing campaign. GoPro sells wearable HD video cameras that make it possible to capture impossible shots on tape. I chose GoPro because there company's most effective marketing is done through social media. People love sharing videos on facebook and GoPro helps them capture their lives like never before. What really sets them apart is their level of engagement by their users. GoPro uploads a 'video of the day' and a 'picture of the day' which forces users to tag/hashtag GoPro in their videos and pictures. They have turned their user into content generators. In fact even if you haven not directly liked GoPro you probably still have seen a video that was shared by a friend that was on the GoPro page. It was interesting to see that 25 people on my friend list had liked the page despite not owning a GoPro device showing the quality of the content.

Despite having a fairly successful self-sufficient social media marketing campaign that makes users advertise the product for you GoPro goes the extra mile. They have used action sport celebrities like Kelly Slater and Shaun White as ambassadors and socially share content from them directly on their facebook page. They also have premiums on their page such as the "Everything We Make" daily contest that gives a full line of GoPro products to one lucky winner and the Instagram contest requesting bands to submit creative content using GoPros. With over five million likes this company's marketing strategy is truly inspiring. Go like their page you will not regret it.

Silver Pizzeria - Kimiya Hojjat

Sliver Pizzeria’s advertising is a prime example of effective social media marketing . They not only capture their customers’ attention with an aesthetically pleasing brand/page, but they also engage the customers on a frequent basis. Among all the methods that a company could employ to maintain an active presence in a customers’ interest, Sliver appears to use them all. When it comes to Sliver, these marketing techniques are perhaps more successful because of their efforts to target a very specific audience. They build loyalty not only by their proximity to the university, but also by presenting information/events/etc. that appeals to their main cohort. For instance, when it comes to Premiums: Sliver was on top of the current news and offered free catering to the next union meeting for the BART strike. They appealed to the concerns of the public at large and also offer deals to large groups and bulk orders. They are likewise a great source of fundraising for student organizations. Considering Participation: they often promote jazz artists and other in-restaurant performances on their Facebook page, to provide customers with an alternate or enhanced reason to eat there.

Customers are further engaged by their ability to relate to Sliver as a social entity as much as a restaurant. They often post pictures with their beautiful pizzas or posing with the friendly staff onto the Facebook page. In addition to this, customers likewise engage in dialogue on the page, most often expressing how good the pizzas of the week were (User-generated content and customer service portal). This manner in which customers engage with Sliver is further enhanced by the company’s efforts in being an active presence in our lives. They have great Content Flow in that they frequently post material for people to follow on news feeds (every few days). They not only alert their fans about a cool new pizza flavor on the menu, but also about their auxiliary activities, such as the staff running a marathon to help eliminate slavery abroad. They intrigue their customers not only by selling their product, but selling themselves as an ethical, fun and relatable company. Their social media marketing tactics are successful because they utilize so many of these strategies in a humble and active way. They allow customers to be a main force in the marketing instead of bombarding them with information as most other companies tend to do. Quite frankly- Sliver is awesome (though perhaps a uniquely successful case-study for the purposes of this assignment).

Cheez It - Beth Powell

I chose to analyze the Facebook page of Cheez-It, the cheese cracker snack. At first glance, the page is catching. There is an appealing cover photo of Cheez-Its appearing to be falling in mid-air, as well as an original, but distinct profile picture of the brand’s logo. The marketing tactics on this page are clear, but not obnoxious. There is a combination of premiums and participation, for there are opportunities to win prizes if you enter certain codes from specially marked Cheez-It boxes. There are other opportunities for participation including tweeting and giving your opinions towards certain events they are featuring that day. However, the amount of participation and premiums are very limited on this page. They rarely provide opportunity for free products and almost never advertise events or games on the page for user involvement.

The Cheez-It Facebook social media page is strong in its “User-Generated Content”, “Customer Service Portal” and “Content Flow”. Cheez-It features pictures posted by its consumers, usually adding a funny headline to caption the moment. Also, there are many opportunities for users to communicate either via comment, message or tweet. Many people give their opinion this way. Content follow is this strong suit on this page, for there are constant new updates to the page including photos, funny puns and product information. Cheez-It uploads a great deal of funny pictures that include the snack, creating a long stream of entertainment for anyone who visits or “Likes” the page. They post something new at least every day, constantly keeping their social media fans up to date. Also, by doing this, they keep the product in the mind of the user, thus making them think of and want Cheez-Its. Overall, this social media site is successful for its target of a younger audience who enjoy a good pun to go with their cheesy snack.

Yogurtland - Noriko Yamasaki

For my analyses I decided to evaluate Yogurtland’s Facebook page. Yogurtland is well known for its many delicious flavors and various toping choices of which consumers can choose from. On Facebook (FB), Yogurtland has many different FB pages depending on one’s location whether it be for the branch in Berkeley or for Australia. Yogurtland does an effective job of social media marketing through the content present on the web page. The effective features the webpage has are Premium Offers, User Participation, User-Generated Content, Customer Service ‘Portal’ and good Content Flow.

From the get-go the page is attractive with bright colors, pictures and videos that relate back to the flavors of Yogurtland. Yogurtland attracts new and keeps current customers onto their FB page and into buying their products by giving out freebies as incentives. For example from July to September, there was an exclusive premium of Looney Tunes flavor that came along with collectable Looney Tunes goods such as the Looney Tunes yogurt cups, spoons and key chains shown below.
Inline image 2
Yogurtland effectively executed social marketing for this premium yogurt edition by telling customers to upload a picture of themselves with the product for a chance to win a free cup of yogurt. In other words, Yogurtland got the customers to market the product by uploading pictures on Facebook where potential new customers (customer’s friends) may take an interest in the product when it pops up on their newsfeed. It is also important to note that the consumers are able to participate in many events such as voting on new flavors and be involved in premium events as mentioned before.

The FB content mainly showcases user-submitted materials unless there are promotional events or new flavors being introduced. These materials are dominantly photos of customer’s with the yogurt product. These user-generated content also links in with other social media such as Instagram, FB’s hastag function and Yogurtland’s official website, which helps market Yogurtland’s brand. 
Inline image 5

Through FB, Yogurtland has an interactive customer service ‘portal’. Users can have a dialogue with each other via commenting or sharing posts in the Yogurtland FB page. In addition, users can provide suggestions and feedback on the page, which allows Yogurtland to gain valuable information on what the customers believe needs improvement or wants to see happen. Moreover, users can ask questions about the product or promotion on FB as a comment to which Yogurtland can respond instantaneously.

In conclusion, with Yogurtland’s effective job of social media marketing, there is regular content flow on the page. I have noticed that there are new posts every two or three days, which updates the users regularly about Yogurtland. I believe that Yogurtland’s use of FB is effective and the users can advertise Yogurtland through the ‘Share’ button under a FB post. Overall, social media pages create great marketing opportunities for any commercial company as long as they are effective in their strategies.

Link of the Yogurtland Facebook page:

Burt's Bees - Aliza Esther Levin

After researching various commercial Facebook pages, Burt’s Bees really stood out to me because of their successful balance of advertisements, premiums, and content flow. Burt’s Bees is a well-known natural personal care company, so unsurprisingly they have over 1,500,000 likes. The marketing approach on their page, however, certainly contributes to their popularity as well.

First, Burt’s Bees does not directly give away free items, but they encourage the public to buy their items by consistently offering coupons. On October 23rd, for example, they offered a $2.00 off coupon for their lip gloss line, which gives viewers an incentive to try out the lip gloss. They did the same thing on October 16th for lip gloss as well, and on October 17th for their face care products. Although these aren’t direct giveaways, they still attract users to try their products by giving them a better deal. In terms of participation, I think they could do a better job on their Facebook page. They encourage participate by posting statuses that ask questions about opinions about their products or facts about the brand, and these posts get thousands of comments and likes. These statuses do provide an element of participation. I feel, however, that they could post surveys about their products, or perhaps promote venues where their products are sold or maybe even on sale, and users would feel more included in their brand. Third, user-generated content is easily available. Users can post photos and tag Burt’s Bees, and then they appear on the “photos of Burt’s Bees” tab. Several users post images of themselves at Burt’s Bees events, or simply images of themselves with Burt’s Bees products.  Burt’s Bees could easily privatize tagged photos so the public could not view them, but instead they choose to allow access to everyone as a way to market real people using their products. Fourth, customer service is very evident on their Facebook page because anyone can post on their timeline, whether it is to ask questions, make a suggestion, or simply compliment or criticize the company. The public not only can post on their timeline, but they also can comment on Burt’s Bee’s posts and engage in dialogue that the company initiates. Thus, users can respond to already created dialogue, or they can initiate the conversation. This is really important feature of their Facebook page, because it makes the users’ participation feel welcomed, accepted, and appreciated. And finally, the content flow is excellent. At most, the company posts about two or three times per day, and they at least post once a day. I think this an ideal balance, because they post enough to market for themselves and keep viewers engaged and informed, but not so much that it feels desperate and annoying. They post about new products (lotions, face products, makeup, etc.), about organizations and causes they support, and about mentions they have in magazines or articles. In other words, they have a variety of different topics in their posts, which keeps them interesting and exciting.

After carefully analyzing each of these elements, I think Burt’s Bees does a fantastic and effective job of social media marketing. They maintain consistent posts that vary in content, they offer deals and coupons for their viewers, and they make their page feel very friendly and welcoming for the public to engage with and even generate their own content. And in addition to all of this, their page still represents the values of the brand: bright, natural, and friendly.  

Starbucks - Alex Krzyzosiak

In evaluating the effectiveness of Starbucks commercial social media page on Facebook, it can be said that overall the company is doing an effective job for a number of reasons. Contributing to the effectiveness of Starbucks social media marketing is the way it which it offers premiums in which they attract users and customers. An example of this (although the premium will be offered on Twitter-Starbucks still uses Facebook in order to communicate that this premium will be going on) would be how Starbucks has recently announced the "Tweet-a-coffee" premium where the first 100,000 to Tweet a coffee with a registered Visa Card will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card compliments of Visa. Secondly, Starbucks is also succeeding in the way in which it is encouraging user-generating content by asking users to tell them what they think or even to submit pictures of their customers everyday interaction with Starbucks coffee (posting and sharing pictures of their favorite Starbucks drinks).

In addition to this, Starbucks also uses their Facebook page as a means of listening to what customers have to say and to gain feedback. This can be seen particularly in the way in which it is evident to customers/users that Starbucks does care about feedback because the page will say "Starbucks replied" and then tell you how many times they replied. Finally, Starbucks is producing content flow by providing new and engaging materials regularly-about everyday or every two days. I believe this is effective because it does not bombard those who have liked the Starbucks Facebook page with their content which can sometimes lead to the much dreaded choice to 'un-like' a page.