Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Christine Schrage, Honors Thesis Advisor


Memes; Viral marketing;


Meme marketing (MM) is the practice of promoting a product or service using memes, an Internet-based phenomenon involving viral pieces of user-generated content, including image, articles, and video or audio clips. This latest form of viral marketing is starting to gain prominence in recent years following the infiltration of social media into everyday life thanks to the rapid advancement in communication technologies and dissemination thereof. As more people are exposed to and becoming part of the Internet culture, a bid to appeal to this growing audience can be an attractive use of resources for those wishing to advertise through meme marketing. The following thesis attempts to provide a historical background of memes through the examination of previous studies and academic literature in addition to an analysis of current manifestations of meme marketing on popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. In addition, a survey targeting University of Northern Iowa students and an assortment of online and social media users has been conducted to gauge the attitudes towards real-world use of MM and to explore the relationship between said attitudes and other online or Internet-related behaviors. This quantitative study found no apparent links between meme consumption habits and attitudes toward MM, as age is the only reliable predictor of the latter: younger people are more negative towards the use of memes for commercial purposes.

Keywords: meme, meme marketing, viral marketing, social media, sustainable competitive advantages

Year of Submission



Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (141 pages)



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Marketing Commons