What does it all meme?


By Brokaw Digital Strategist Katie Riley


I solemnly swear to put nothing about the election into this email.

Like me, I am sure you have been bombarded with emails from your candidate of choice and organizations pestering you to vote and/or support their causes.

Here at Brokaw, we know you need a break — so we thought we would put together an informative/entertaining (mostly entertaining, not so much informative) O-news this week!

Where we answer the age old question: “What is a meme?”
According to “The Google

Meme /mēm/Noun:

1.    An element of a culture of behavior that may be passed from one individual to another 2.    An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another Great! Now that we cleared that up, here are some of our favorite memes from across the interwebs!

Scumbag Steve
Sudden Clarity Clarence
Condescending Wonka

… and our personal favorite

Junior Art Director

Remember, email marketing doesn’t always have to be “Sell! Sell! Sell!” It’s also a great opportunity to show off your brand’s personality (unless you’re giving away coupons, don’t mess with people and their coupons).


How-to How-to.

by Brokaw Senior Writer, Mark McKenzie

A few weeks ago, my wife and I took a short bed and breakfast tour of Wisconsin. It was a weird vacation choice. Especially because, as a couple in our 30-ish-es, we’re well outside the B&B target market. By about 30-ish years.

As someone who had stayed in nothing but hotels of varying (READ: moderately low) quality my entire life, a B&B was an extremely foreign concept. How do you check in? Is there a curfew? Do I have to watch my language? (ANSWERS: It’s easy. No. Kind of.)

Turns out, the experience was great. You get these breakfasts that blow the Holiday Inn Express pancake machine out of the water. And while I ate this egg dish that could have doubled as a holiday decoration, one of the owners told me that their biggest problem with attracting visitors who aren’t carrying AARP cards is that Millennials and young Gen Xers have no idea how to use a B&B.

Turns out that sometimes, the biggest barrier to your brand isn’t necessarily awareness or overcoming existing consumer habits. It might be that people just flat-out don’t know how to use your product or service.

Apple understands this in spades. They’ve spent decades making complicated technology easy to use and millions of advertising dollars simply showing you how to use it.

Making an effective how-to even extends to public transportation. Like installing a Bus Simulator at the Cleveland Auto Show.

People just really, really want to know how to do things. There are how-tos on YouTube with tens of millions of views. For everything from picking a lock to having super awesome dreams.

So, the next time you’re wondering why 30-ish-y people aren’t staying at your B&B or aren’t buying your innovative new corkscrew, maybe you need to take some time to explain it. Heck, it worked for Cortelco. Thank heavens it comes with an instruction manual.


If everyone is zigging, maybe it’s time to zag.

In any industry, across any medium, you’ll find common themes and messages. We call this the blah blah. And we encourage you to avoid it like a binders full of women reference. Your brand needs authenticity. And your budget needs help from unpaid media and wordofmouth.
If you’re selling insurance, why do another spokesperson campaign and blend in? How about showing the world just how happy your customers are? If you’re selling pasta sauce, don’t just do another fresh ingredients ad. How about a campaign that demonstrates why you deserve this amazing sauce—after all, growing up is tough, right?

Likewise, instead of having your kid get another boring school picture, how about giving him or her the freedom to do a super rad pose like this?

(Or maybe not.)
Just remember before you get too wild and crazy, make sure there’s a reason for your brands “zagging.” As ad legend Bill Bernbach states, “You are not right if in your message you stand a man on his head just to get attention. You are right if it’s done to show how your product keeps things from falling out of his pockets.” (So true, B.B. So true.)

Here’s to the Peggy Olsens.

by Brokaw Copywriter, Trish DiFranco

Watching Mad Men with women who worked through the ‘60s is a little like watching TV with fresh-caught trout—what with the flopping and the writhing and the hoping for that every-scene with Joan to end. Why? Because, unfortunately, there’s a lot of truthiness in those Emmy-winning episodes.

Which is why! … when articles like these come out, it’s important to meditate for a moment on how far women have come, and moreover, how far we have left to go. Because not only have women become the primary purchase decision-makers in the majority of households, they’re now steering some of the world’s most influential advertising and marketing companies.


 Cindy Gallop, former chair of BBH: “If I ran the world, I would find a way to bring the wealth of human good intentions and corporate good intentions together—to activate them collectively into shared action against shared objectives that produces shared hard, tangible results.”

Joyce King Thomas, former CCO McCann Erickson, New York: “I have a suggestion for every woman reading this. Starting today, let’s all pick three women to mentor. I’m not just talking to those at the top, but to those in the middle and those scrambling up by their fingernails. There’s always someone lower down the rung than you are. Reach out and give them a yank up. Get a woman an internship. (Paid, please.) Give a woman some killer advice. Hell, recommend a nanny. And if you have even a smidgen of power, get a woman promoted. Right now.”

Gloria Steinem, co-founder Ms. Magazine: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”

And there you have it, folks. Some bright, progressive women to make you feel enlightened and empowered! And speaking of progressive, check out our presidential candidates reaching across the aisle.