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Meme marketing helps Del Mar College target its demographic

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Posted at 3:33 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 16:33:00-04

Imagine scrolling the Del Mar College Facebook page and seeing THAT meme.

You know the one: The 'girl explaining' meme — the one with the girl in the pink crop top, her arm draped around a fazed-looking guy's neck, screaming into his ear.

First though: What the . . .? 🤔

Second thought: They got me. 🤷‍♀️

As memes become a primary form of communication, colleges and universities are capitalizing on the trend in an effort to simultaneously stay relevant AND attract enrollment.

This particular one had been circulating for about two weeks, said DMC's Digital Services Manager Jason Houlihan, but he and his team hadn't quite found the right use for it.

After getting input from a group specializing in higher-education social media, a plan was formed.

"That sparked the copy points for us as a team and we wrote out what we wanted and scheduled it to hit with a peak enrollment period," he said.

The result is a post that has more than 300 reactions, 52 comments, and 73 shares as of Wednesday afternoon.

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"What’s surprising to me is that we’ll spend 20(-plus) hours on a formal PR video piece that gets (1,000 or 2,000) views, but some of these memes have gotten way more engagement and the main time investment is brainstorming," Houlihan said.

It also sparks conversation — be it in the community, or between the college and prospective students.

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But most of the comments praised the college's ability to relate to a target demographic on their terms.

"I was shocked, shocked I say," said Facebook user Richard Rick Cavada in a comment. "It shocked me into thinking about going back to school."

For Houlihan, it's a natural way to draw attention to the commuter campus, especially since its sports programs are limited to intramural programs.

"So to overcome that, we need to be on our game with memes, trends, jokes and the general content we use on Instagram Reels and TikTok," he said.

This is far from the college's first foray into meme culture.

Recent pop-culture-centric memes include takes on the popular Netflix show "Squid Game" . . .


. . . and other takes on meme culture.