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As Instagram grows and evolves, a new breed of Instagram content creator—known collectively as “Instagram publishers” or “Instagram meme curators”—has emerged to supply the platform’s largely-millennial audiences with news, information, and funny posts accompanied by insightful, poignant, or culturally-relevant captions (called “internet memes” or simply “memes”). By republishing or, in some cases, creating popular trends and tapping into the shared experiences of young audiences, top Instagrammers like Fuck Jerry, Beige Cardigan, Fat Jewish, Daddy Issues, and Tank Sinatra have acquired large social media followings and attracted influencer marketing partnerships from global brands.
Though traditional media outlets have garnered millions of followers by engaging in real journalism and posting credible news stories—National Geographic’s Instagram account have 48 million followers, for example, while Bleacher Report, a popular sports blog, is now followed by 2.2 million users—content creators that specialize in pop culture references, poking fun at celebrities, and/or pointing out cultural stereotypes now collectively draw more followers and inspire higher levels of engagement than establishing publishers.
Instagram meme publishers’ ability to develop or republish relatable content and connect with audiences has led to notoriety and brand sponsorship opportunities from some of the nation’s biggest brands. A recent article by Mashable’s David Yi describes how married Instagram meme publishers Fuck Jerry and Beige Cardigan have become “bona fide media moguls,” while Vanity Fair’s piece about the popular account Daddy Issues describes how the account’s creator, Violet Benson, has earned over 3 million followers by creating and posting “amusing, in-your-face memes about the kinds of blush-worthy, embarrassing things women usually only talk about with their friends in group text messages.” Learn more about Josh Ostrovsky of the FatJewish in our Influencer Spotlight article here.
In a recent Digiday article, Caroline Bottger outlines a few of the lessons brands can learn from meme Instagrammers, among them that companies should “develop a powerful persona” and “appeal to universal sentiments” to expand their reach and target younger demographics. Increasingly, brands are accomplishing these goals by creating influencer marketing partnerships with Instagrammers like Josh Ostrovsky (curator of the Fat Jewish Instagram account), who recently partnered with Burger King to create a brand-sponsored post on the company’s behalf (see below). Another well-known meme publisher, Elliot Tebele (founder and curator of Jerry Media and the successful FuckJerry Instagram account, which now has almost 9 million followers) has worked with Lyft, Diesel, Shake Shack, and pop megastar Justin Bieber.
Yeah, i got the Burger King Chicken fry logo on my chest, BECAUSE BAD DECISIONS ARE GOOD DECISIONS. @burgerking #bkpdpartner A photo posted by thefatjewish (@thefatjewish) on