Twenty years ago, hardly anyone used the word “meme.”
Then, during the early years of this millennium, internet adoption grew from roughly half the population in the world’s developed countries to about 80 percent (and counting), according to the International Telecommunication Union.
With that digital media saturation, and the widespread cultural adoption of social media, came the internet meme. These tend to be little more than a familiar picture paired with a pithy phrase with the intent of a communicating a trend or idea.
Author and English ethnologist Richard Dawkins coined the phrase meme in the 1970s. In his book “The Selfish Gene,” Dawkins wrote:
“We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme.”
Today, well-written, creatively-packaged and smartly-distributed memes take on a life of their own, morphing as they travel the information superhighway from one person to the next. Because of the way an internet meme evolves over time, Dawkins has said that the best of them represent a variation of Darwin’s natural selection.
Some are snarky, others political. But the memes that seem to gain the most traction feature a healthy dollop of humor.
Keep reading to see 20 cheeky internet memes about the insurance business …
Memes that spoof mainstream advertisements, such as this one featuring “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” a concept that began as a commerical for Dos Equis beer, can do as much or more for brand awareness as the original ad.
The fictional “nerd” Steve Urkel was part of the TV sitcom, “Family Matters,” which aired in the late 1990s. According to the Insurance Information Institute, policyholders should review an insurance policy whenever it comes up for renewel, whenever they have made a major purchase or home improvement, or whenever they undergo significant lifestyle changes such as becoming a parent.
Producing a meme that goes viral on the web is like winning the marketing World Series.
Statistically speaking, only about 44 percent of American households carried life insurance in 2010, despite the fact that more than 80 percent of Americans agreed on its importance.
Unaffordable medical bills in particular continue to haunt low-wage-earning Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Monitoring how internet memes evolve around a given subject, including health insurance or life insurance, can be an effective way to keep up with the pop culture buzz surrounding your business. It may also enable you to correct any misconceptions that clients may have about your products and services.
As this meme suggests, some workers simply choose to blow off their employer-provided health insurance.
Perhaps this is why many Americans continue to have gaps in their insurance coverage.
Roughly 30 percent of Americans, or 70 million people, know they need more life insurance, according to LIMRA.
During 2016 Open Enrollment, Americans were given about 12.7 million plan selections through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Today’s typical internet meme features a memorable photo with brief and direct block text above and/or below the main image.
Internet memes may not be the best source of advice for new insurance agents.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 9 million Americans who were previously uncovered now have health insurance as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
LIMRA says that 65 percent of Americans without life insurance believe it’s too expensive. These people say that paying their mortgage and utilities leaves little money left over for buying life insurance.
Creating and diseminating an internet meme can be an effective way of shining a spotlight on a particular product or service.
As many insurance agents can attest, whole life products are widely considered to be superior to term life insurance policies.
The insurance landscape is changing, which can present fresh sales opportunities for brokers, producers and agents.
Contrary to the message behind this meme, it’s often not a good idea to do business with friends.
Memes are also useful because they translate information in a speedy, memorable manner.
Tardar Sauce, or the internet meme sensnation known as Grumpy Cat, reportedly wears a permanent scowl due to feline dwarfism. The cat’s celebrity garnered internet awards and a feature film.
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