Binders - Or, Stop Me Before I Meme Again

Before I begin, forgive me for often being more into social memes than social metrics. But although I find it fascinating that a study released today says only 6% of alleged fans of a brand on Facebook actually interact with it, I’m actually more in the mood to talk about binders.

Oh, sheesh, binders? That’s so 36 hours ago.

But what interests me about the binder meme might not be what you think. It’s a great time-waster, sure, to have boatloads of fun cruising the binders full of women Tumblr, or playing the romneybinderswomen game. (Side note: In a nice example of when good AdSense targeting goes bad, the site’s sole ad is a search one asking people to donate $5 at MittRomney.com.)

No. What is intriguing about this latest meme, and what pushed me over the hurdle of whether to write about it or not, is when, this morning, I realized just how viral virality has become. Yes, we inhabit a world in which the inmates (that would be you and me) have joyfully taken over the asylum (that would be the Internets).

And so it is, that as I write this, people are turning Amazon reviews for binders into political statements. For this product -- the Avery Durable Binder EZ Turn – there are currently 33 pages of reviews , not including comments, about the binder that are really just about extending the meme. (It has also spread to other binder products.) An excerpt:

“This binder has more than enough room to hold all of my women, some of whom cook dinner for me. I wish it came in pink, though.”

And the comments from that “review”:

“Really? I found that it filled up very quickly and the pockets were not big enough to hold my excess woman inventory. You could of course use two binders, but that may prove a bit heavy if you ask one of your women to hold them while you eat the dinner she cooked for you.”

“I was disappointed to find that this binder shipped WITHOUT any women. Total ripoff! I mean, they sell picture frames with a sample photo already inside, so I figured this binder would arrive with at least one broad... for demo purposes. But this was not the case. They should put a big label on this thing: ‘BROADS NOT INCLUDED’.”

“I agree! Great quality for the price. It is even affordable for those who make less money than men for doing the same job with the same qualifications and capability.”

Just as no political gaffe these days goes unpunished, no social platform goes unutilized when it comes to being in on the game.

I could try to segue here into a serious discussion about how brands need to be prepared for a breakout meme like this one -- just in case it’s about them -- and how people could be talking about brands in unusual places. But that seems a bit of a stretch. Actually, to that point, the Avery brand, in this instance, becomes merely a conduit for expression; a blank page on which to scrawl.

I will say, however, that this incident shows how consumers increasingly view social media as performance art, where every platform, no matter how seemingly off-topic, is ready for exploitation in the name of self-expression. And that’s a trend worth watching.

Hope to see you next week at OMMA Social L.A.!

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2 comments about "Binders - Or, Stop Me Before I Meme Again".
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston , October 18, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
    According to Anita Dunn, there are no such binders at the boy's club in the current White House.
  2. Christina Lenkowski from Red Sky PR , October 18, 2012 at 6:45 p.m.
    We work on behalf of Avery and here is their response: https://www.facebook.com/Avery?ref=hl