The “Damn, Daniel” Craze & how Businesses Monopolize on Viral Meme Culture

Article by Harley Chase | esPResso Committee Member 

With the Internet’s prominence in all aspects of modern culture from communication to consuming to educating, it is no denying that internet memes and their viral capabilities have a vast effect on internet users. Memes are defined by the Oxford Dictionaries as “humorous photos, videos, or text that are copied and spread rapidly by Internet users”. From your average Joe to politicians and celebrities, memes show no mercy.

This can be seen in the case of Daniel Lara, who a little over a month ago was a normal 15 year old living in California. This was before his friend posted a video of him to Twitter that gained such a rapid following, and the meme, “Damn, Daniel”, was born spiraling Daniel into his 15 minutes of internet fame!

The video is a compilation of clips of Daniel causally being filmed by his friend Josh, who made the commentary like “Damnnnnnn, Daniel” and “back at again with the white Vans”, which became the tag lines for the meme. Posted to by Josh on February 15, the tweet had over 460,000 likes and 340,000 retweets. Within weeks of the video being posted, Daniel and Josh both gained thousands of followers on Twitter and appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she gifted Danielle with the lifetime supply of white Vans.

Many companies have witness the viral capabilities of memes in today’s culture and capitalized on them for their own marketing materials.  AdWeek reported that brands like Axe and Clorox were fast to capitalize on the “Damn, Daniel” viral success on Twitter. Van’s, the brand directly connected with the meme, also was actively engaging on social media and after the meme’s release, there was even an alarming spike in price of Vans on eBay, according to Fortune.  

The restaurant chain, Denny’s also tried to play into the “Damn, Daniel” meme success with a string of tweets posted almost a week after the video’s height of popularity. These tweets, which really were not applicable to the brand, received comments like “denny’s needs to calm down”, as reported by AdWeek. Even rock band, Weezer, utilized the “Damn, Daniel” duo in their most recent music video appropriately called, “California Kidz”, according to Billboard Music. However, it is noted that Daniel was not even wearing white Vans in the video. Shocking!

 

This is not the first time that brands capitalize on the viral success of a meme and certainly will not be the last! The key take always in successfully doing so is to make sure the company understands the meme and that it works in a way favorable with their brand. As with any use of social media, it is also important to act in a timely manner to insure that the content is relevant.  

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