Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Who Promotes the Promo Products? 8 Industry Memes for Fun, Advertising, and the Love of Wonka

We try to keep things inclusive on the QLP blog. We scour the World Wide Web for news, analyze trends and data, and stay up-to-date on marketing methods, so that whether you’re a small business owner or a marketer for a Fortune 500, there’s something for everyone.

Sometimes, though, we narrow our focus a bit to talk about promotional products, because we think promotional products are part of a balanced, effective, supercharged marketing strategy (and also because, spoiler alert: we are a promotional products company).

Recently, we realized that there might be something holding us back. When we thought about the ways that the promotional products industry innovates, we found one area where our industry is seriously suffering: a lack of promotional product related memes.

Memes (pronounced “meems,” incidentally one of my childhood nicknames) existed long before the internet. A meme once meant “an element of a culture passed from one individual to another” (like repeated design elements used in architecture from ancient Greece to modern era). In our digital age, it’s usually used to refer to “an image, video, or piece of text on the internet.” They tend to be easy to create and easy to share, with a witty or clever message.

We’ve talked about memes on the blog before, specifically about how marketers can use them to grow their brand presence and engage with a community. And we think they can do the same thing in and around the offices and emails of promotional products companies!

Customer Engagement and Marketing

Lots of brands use memes as part of their marketing – Snickers has a “create your own meme” to go along with their #EatASnickers marketing tagline, and it seems like one pistachio company has adopted them as their go-to marketing strategy. We love keyboard playing cats more than most, but we’re not about to let a humble nut show us up.

To get in on the meme game, we whipped up a few informational and clever memes that would get the attention of any customer shopping for promo products.

uncle sam - Copy—–qlp - Copy—–

Wonka - Copy


Humor and Morale

Memes don’t have to be funny to go viral or be popular, but we tend to think the best ones are. Shared humor in a community builds up relationships. In an office community, it contributes directly to morale, work ethic, and attitude. Simply speaking, it can make a sometimes stressful work environment more enjoyable.  Making common misunderstandings or office and industry jokes into memes can keep stress in check and bring teams together.

(To be fair, we work in an industry with a lot of stress balls, so we kind of have the market cornered on stress relief, but it’s also hard to bond over the shared experience of squeezing them. You win here, memes.)

grump - Copy

sumblination dye


Visual Storytelling and Branding

Branding is a kind of storytelling, the public account of a business’s personality. Even though the main business of a promotional products company is to build up the brand of other businesses, it still has its own brand to consider.

If you’re the kind of brand that wants to be known for working hard and playing hard (like QLP and lots of our friends in the promo products industry), memes might be the perfect way to share some of that clever, fun-loving spirit around your company or on your social media pages and blogs.

Memes can also create better brand recognition. A well-placed, clever meme will get your customer’s attention, but a meme is more than just distraction. A relevant meme serves as a way to connect your brand to a familiar image or idea and therefore makes you memorable to your customer.

click - Copy


Why the fuss about memes? Mostly because we’re invested in making the industry better, even in simple or goofy ways. Partly because it gave us an excuse to scroll through endless meme image searches. But we consider ourselves conversation starters – starting dialogues and asking questions that will keep pushing our industry in the right direction and keep things from getting complacent (this is probably a good tip for any non-promotional product companies out there too, because, like I said, we’re here for everyone).

Memes aren’t any kind of groundbreaking technology or a shiny new social media platform, but they are a mostly free, easy, and accessible way to encourage creativity and humor in our industry.

When it comes to creating comradery and being cool and creative, we think that industry-specific memes can help the promo products business in a big way!  Plus now we’re finally filling the void of promo item memes. We took too long to get to this point, honestly.

What do you think about using memes to improve the promotional product industry? Have you ever created a custom meme for your company or business? What’s your favorite meme?

expand your brand


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. Erin

    Thanks for the Thursday morning laugh – these are great, I LOVE the Wonka one. Who doesn’t love a great meme? I’m so glad we have some designed for our industry now…I’ll definitely be passing these along! It’s crazy how an image with some text on top of it can build comradery in an office setting or between colleagues via email – I definitely agree! Getting an unexpected meme via text or email provides a refreshing break from the day, a smile, and reminds us to not take things so seriously!

  2. Anthony

    Memes are love. Memes are life. 😉 I use these all the time when it comes to making anyone smile. Customers, friends, co-workers, family; you name it! 🙂 It’s a fun way of representing a situation that others can relate to and it helps us laugh about the silly things in life. New memes are being made every day and since social media is growing each day as well, memes won’t go away any time soon. 😀

  3. Matthew

    Thank you for sharing! These are hilarious!

  4. Julie Holloway

    Hilarious! I love your marketing 🙂 very fun and engaging.

  5. Chase

    I love memes they are one of the best ways I have seen to express a joke in a nice non-threatening manor! And if done right they can really help promote your brand and identity. The key is to do them right and have people recognize something familiar with your brand. I am very surprised that I have not seen a company that just makes these for clients. Sounds like a really cool concept for a team to do! Great stuff guys keep it up!

  6. Jaimie

    These memes are awesome!!

    I love memes already, but when they directly relate to what I do for a living, it makes it even better!

    I think my favorite one is the Yellow Pages one, because it is so true. I mean nothing gets your brand out their better than promotional products. I doubt anyone even has a phonebook anymore. With technology nowadays, there is no need for “yellow pages” So on the topic of technology, get your customers something like a cell phone card holder, or something they will actually use every day, and will get to see your brand every day! 🙂

  7. Amanda

    Being a newbie in the marketing profession I think I AM the dye sublimation guy. I think I look at my boss (or at least her emails) with that same look on my face, no less than 5 times a day.

  8. Shauna

    All ’bout dem memes! These are all great! I am a firm believer in the meme and working in an environment in which I am exposed to at least 10+ memes daily has been nothing but soul food for me. They’re clever, fun and relatable– and they often get an actual verbal chuckle (a LOL) out of people that usually just communicate over the Internet with one another. Bonding!

    Whether you’re sending a LOTR meme to your coworker or one of these awesome promotional product memes to your customer, they’re a great way to make an impact and stand out a little more from the daily email droll. #swagrid

  9. Kat D.

    It is absolutely amazing to me to see how far we have come in advertising. Memes are great, and those above are absolutely hilarious! I especially love the Grumpy Cat one!! I can’t tell you how many customers ask to make their logo larger on their item when, if fact, we already set the artwork up to print as large as possible for that particular item in question. I would love to send that meme to customers. An indirect, yet funny, way to get the point across without upsetting anyone with the blow that we just can’t make their imprint larger. 🙂

  10. Ashley

    These memes work in two ways for me. Memes are meant to be these constantly relatable emotions all of us share. But since I have been in the promotional products business for years now that all the ins and outs have been laser engraved into my brain, these are perfect for me. Entertainment at its finest.

    I love the effort on some of these “promo-memes” =]. I relate to so many of these, it’s ridiculous. The Wonka meme is fantastic, but the Xzibit meme works perfectly into the ASI convention that just passed.

    Now the hardest part is going to be trying to fight my meme addiction and not waste another hour on Google in search of more promo-memes =/

  11. Angie

    I didn’t even know what a meme was or how to pronounce the word before I started working at QLP. Now I look forward to getting one . . . even if I hit “reply all”. I am all about adding a little humor to the work day. I am always amazed by how clever everyone can be.

  12. Jen

    Ah, memes…what is there to say that hasn’t already been said? They truly do bring people together!

    Depending on the situation and the customer, I like using them. They’re a nice reminder to not take anything too seriously, breathe, and have fun. We’re here to help you promote your business, but also to make your day a little easier. If I can do that by sending you a sad looking fat cat, so be it!

    Notable Mentions:

    “U OK?” Shark
    Bob Ross memes
    The Thinking Raptor
    Anything that makes fun of Kanye as much as I do.

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