The Student News Site of Chandler High School

The Wolf Howl

The Student News Site of Chandler High School

The Wolf Howl

The Student News Site of Chandler High School

The Wolf Howl

Get with the times: How companies found new appeal

Get+with+the+times%3A+How+companies+found+new+appeal

A certain trend among big-name companies has started catching on. It started several years ago, in 2017, with the Wendy’s X account. Wendy’s made a routine of ‘roasting’ other users and companies in a way unexpected of a corporate fast food chain. This, naturally, made consumers yearn for more.

However, this idea of ‘unhinged’ marketing only exploded now thanks to Duolingo’s presence on Tiktok. The language learning app picked up the concept of abandoning traditional marketing strategies and ran with it at full speed. Everyone else was more or less left to play catch-up. 

How did a little green owl start kicking this marketing movement into high gear? In 2019, a meme started going viral about the Duolingo owl being evil. If one were to miss a single language lesson on the app, supposedly Duo would enact revenge in every sinister manner possible. Of course, it was all in good fun, but what nobody expected was for the company to lean into it! Nothing would happen, despite Duo’s comments and videos, but the meme grew worldwide recognition. 

Since then, now that the meme has subsided, Duolingo has gotten into the business of keeping up with trends and committing to the bit. This means that the company, under the guise of its mascot orchestrating everything, sells to its followers subtly under all the memes and jokes. With a one-sided rivalry with Google Translate, a crush on Dua Lipa, and general chaoticism in the comments, all of these individual jokes have worked to grow the character of Duolingo.

More corporations have begun to indulge in this style of advertising as well. Axe Body Spray has broken into the infamous ‘alpha wolf’ brand of memes, Drumstick Ice Cream hopped onto the ‘Josh Hutcherson edit’ trend, and those are just a few examples. The biggest perk with this kind of promotion is, obviously, a deeper connection to consumers. In assigning a company a personality, audiences are more likely to want to buy whatever product they’re being sold. 

However, this is a double-edged sword. There’s a fine line between funny and offensive, and companies will have to get close to that line if they want to be seen as genuine. It all depends on what the jokes are about. A well-known victim of this is Burger King, who, on National Women’s Day of 2021, posted a tweet saying “Women belong in the kitchen.” Even now it’s difficult to exactly tell if this was a ploy to get a more diverse workforce, a hilariously horrible lapse in company judgment, or a mix of both. Either way, Burger King received heavy backlash for the tweet and deleted it shortly after. This is what it means to say that companies need to pay attention to the comedic quips they try to push out. Without care in the social media department, the risk of losing money becomes very real. 

As the world grows more familiar with the possibilities of social media advertising, consumers will likely be met with corporations attempting to appeal to them on their own level. That effect has certainly been making a presence for itself already. It is important to pay attention to the changes companies are making to their manner of publicity and priorities. As corporations humanize themselves further, consumers will likely get to appreciate the effort, but should still keep in mind that these are advertisements trying to sell them something.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sif Woolf, Reporter
Sif Woolf, a sophomore on the Chandler Wolf Howl team, has big plans. They have a deep respect for life and nature, inspiring their work here as a reporter.  Their driving mantra for joining Newspaper is simple: “Giving people a perspective that they might not have seen before.”  Writing opinions articles is where they shine, and expressing their thoughts on paper has been an excellent outlet.  In the future, Sif hopes to pursue a career in the creative arts with photography, writing, or painting.