The Atlantic

Meme Thievery Goes Corporate

The newest strategy for marketing to young people is stealing their jokes.
Source: Antonio Guillem / Getty / The Atlantic

For a company that sells fancy skin-care products, Drunk Elephant’s Instagram account tells a lot of jokes about carbohydrates. “I miss the 90s, when bread was good for you, and no one knew what kale was,” the brand posted in August. Two weeks later, the brand exposed carb trickery: “Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the reason I have trust issues.” A few days ago, Drunk Elephant was thinking about the much-maligned nutritional unit once again. “You know who’s always there for you?” the post asked. Sorry for spoiling the punch line, which is “Carbs.”

The skin-care brand’s quippy, comic-esque thoughts on eating—as well as dog ownership, procrastination, and the gym—are a fixture of its Instagram marketing. They’ve popped up on the account every couple of days for years, all rendered in a black, all-caps font against a white background with a colorful frame that mirrors Drunk

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