CIBC wants young people to put their money where the memes are.  

This month, the bank posted memes on their social media profiles created specifically with millennials in mind, according to a CIBC spokesperson.

“I would totally check it out,” said Ryan Lukic, a second-year Ryerson business technology management student who invests in several areas, including banks. “It connects with people in our age group.”

Memes are the photo equivalent of a viral video: highly recognizable to anyone plugged into online trends.

Companies using memes to attract customers has been catching on as a concept. In May, Gucci commissioned meme makers and artists from around the world to promote their line of watches, explained a statement on the fashion house’s website. The company attributed the marketing campaign to evolving with the times, aiming to connect with “new eyes” as the memes spread online.

CIBC’s memes follow the “My face when…” format, which takes a relatable feeling or scenario and pairs it with a recognizable image from pop culture. The bank adapts the format to say, “That feeling when…” and follows it with banking related sentiments including: “When your vacation fund matures” and “When your first investment pays off.”

“Before we are marketers, we are consumers and social users,” said Tobi Rammo, a director of content, social media and customer marketing for CIBC.

Rammo explained in an email to The Ryersonian that employees work to create advertisements they would be interested in, even when they’re not on the job.

Advertising to millennials, a “hyper-connected and tech-savvy audience,” has the potential to be challenging to all marketers because creating a consistent stream of content may not resonate with an audience, or simply be lost in an ever-expanding internet, Rammo explained.

Rammo also said the content has a shot at adding momentum to marketing efforts because they engage with trends.

Ryerson professor Chris Gibbs said that using a new medium to reach a target market is not new. He said an ongoing issue with most advertising is connecting with an audience in a way that leads to them spending their money on company products.

“With social media and use of the advertising tools through platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and others, they have even more ability to target specific demographics or personal interests,” said Gibbs, who is an expert in marketing, digital and social media.

“They can also measure the reach and engagement with the content that was shared allowing them to easily adapt and make changes to a campaign,” he said.

Gibbs said that one of the great aspects of digital advertising is the ability to track metrics to gauge the success of a campaign.  

Rammo said the memes have yielded positive results so far. The company is performing at 135 per cent higher than their benchmark for engagement on Facebook, and 83 per cent higher on Instagram.

Lukic said even though memes may spark a young person’s interest, anyone considering investing should base their choice off of a bank’s interest rates, not their memes.

“Sometimes the best interest rate holding banks are hidden gems.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed emailed quotes to Emily Piccinin, CIBC consultant, public relations. After publication, Piccinin informed The Ryersonian that quotes should be attributed to Tobi Rammo, CIBC director, content & social media, customer marketing. The change has been made.

Morgan Bocknek is a teaching assistant focused in investigative journalism at Ryerson University, where she is also in her final year of study. Most recently, she was a reporter for part two of the unprecedented Price of Oil series. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Moncton Times & Transcript, Snapd Newspapers, Today's Parent Magazine, Huffington Post and more.

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