"Joey, stop trying to turn 'Brooklyn Rage' into a catchphrase, it's never going to work."Forcing a Meme is the act of trying to intentionally raise the popularity of something to memetic status. It can involve mass repetition of a phrase or trying to convince someone else that it is already memetic. It should be noted that very few forced memes actually become accepted memes. This is due to the principle that people are naturally attracted to freedom. In the same way that people gravitate towards things they're told they shouldn't be interested in, they're likely to ignore things that others explicitly tell them that they should be interested in. It is still debated whether they deserve to be memes. Sometimes the meme's forced status becomes memetic itself instead, especially when the attempt is particularly inept or memorable, but not in the intended way. Whether the meme being perpetuated succeeded or not is also debated. Many memes can also be accused of being this if they're of something the audience doesn't particularly care for, muddying the issue further. This runs almost opposite to the Streisand Effect, where an individual or company tries to snuff out something on the internet, only to have the internet take off with it.
— Yami Yugi, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series
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- The whole point of many kinds of ads is to make the product a household name and make sure everyone knows the slogan.
- Viral Marketing. Unlike most examples on this page, it often works.
- In the US, "astroturfing" refers to faking a grassroots (community driven) movement, when in reality the agenda and strategy is controlled by a hidden, non-grassroots organization. It comes from the name for a brand of artificial grass first created for the Houston Astros and their indoor baseball stadium.
- A Comedy Central commercial for Crank Yankers tried to make "Let me put my brother on the phone" into America's latest "Catch-Phrase" similar to "Whatevah! I do what I want!" and "What? What? Okay!"
- Any advertisement that contains a hashtag.
- Any product designed intentionally to be a "new family tradition" usually doesn't become one. For example, the "Elf On A Shelf" comes out every year around Christmas, and while some do genuinely like it and think it's cute, most people are baffled by its purpose, or simply wary of it.
- Yoho Diabolo was a weird yo yo like toy that became a forced meme in the mid '90s in Australia (and perhaps other parts of the world), by trying to carpet bomb the product using after school advertising. It failed.
- There was a terrible commercial for a pizza chain in the mid-2000s that tried to force "puff" as a synonym for "cool", etc., to promote their puffed-crust pizzas. The ad actually started with a dictionary entry for "puff" defining it as such, followed by people eating the pizza and saying "This is puff!" It didn't catch on.
- Shortly before Sanjay and Craig premiered, the creators tried to make it the next big thing by shoving their characters into every Image Macro template that they could and broadcasting it to everyone, whether they wanted to see it or not, by making them unavoidable sponsor posts on Tumblr. Bloggers didn't take it well.
- An onslaught of Gak ads during the 3rd season premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic turned the substance into one among fans.
- In a satirical Ur-Example, the advertising for the film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension presented the film as the culmination of a popular demand for the 'internationally famous' Buckaroo Banzai novels to be put to the big screen. There were, of course, no such novels. While the ad campaign (which was parodying the advertising for the Star Trek films) did get some amused chuckles, it didn't really help the film's less than stellar box office receipts.
Anime and Manga
- In chapter 24 of the Yuru-Yuri manga, Kyouko annoys Yui - for a change - by attempting to make the term "washargling" popular in reference to cold prevention. Her staring at the "camera" implies that she wants the readers to use the term.
- In Bakuman。', while running Tanto'', Shuujin tries to do this. It doesn't really work.
- In Kick-Ass, Dave and his friends try to bring the word "tunk", conceived of as the Spear Counterpart of cunt, into the mainstream as a new curse word. They succeed.
- In a print issue of Nodwick, new profanity "krutz" appears complete with marketing campaign and informative brochures to make sure it catches on. It succeeds wildly, with the heroes' (previously unnamed) hometown even getting renamed Krutzing Hollow. The word is magically powerful and almost addictive to use, made so by the villains who are using it to channel negative emotions and suffering to power a resurrection spell.
Films — Animation
Films — Live Action
- In Mean Girls, Gretchen tries to make "fetch" into a cool slang term, using it constantly in conversations. It actually kinda was, for a while.
Regina: Gretchen, stop trying to make "fetch" happen! It's not going to happen!
- Ironically, "Stop trying to make X happen!" managed to become a legitimate meme.
- In the Josie and the Pussycats live action film, a corporation uses subliminal messages to do this constantly, like making the word "jerkin'" into a synonym for "cool."
- Reviews around the release of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines actually praised its aversion to trying to one-up the first two's catchphrases.
- Probably the reason Jerry Maguire has a scene where two characters shout, "Show me the money!" at each other over and over. It worked (much to the chagrin of one of the actors).
- The Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-Ray dedicated a two minute featurette to a phrase Anthony Mackie liked to use at the end of takes, "Cut the check!", as a possible attempt to popularize the phrase among Marvel fans.
- Maleficent promotional material tried really hard to associate the phrase, "Well, well." with the title character, even though it only slightly sounds like the original Sleeping Beauty quote ("Well!") and isn't really that memorable a phrase to begin with.
- Paramount attempted to use #IAmMajor to promote Ghost in the Shell except that it backfired right into their faces when people started using it to mock the movie's Race Lift controversy for casting Scarlett Johansson as the Japanese Major Motoko Kusanagi. Then, it went overboard when it was used to mock other whitewashing controversies and unrelated copypastas.
- Long before the internet, we have the "Step in Time" bit from Mary Poppins—a song that makes anything anyone says part of the song!
- The children's book Frindle is about a boy who tries to enter a new word, "frindle", into the English language. Not only does he succeed, but he somehow gets rich from it in the Distant Finale.
- The BattleTech novel D.R.T. It stands for "Dead Right There" and is used multiple times throughout the novel in an incredibly awkward and forced manner (not that such a phrase could easily be used in a non-awkward or forced way) that made it sound significantly like the author was indeed trying to turn it into a meme.
Live Action TV
- On Community, Pierce keeps trying to force "streets ahead" to mean cool, hip, or trendy. He succeeded in the real world, if one counts the show's fanbase, although it was already a perfectly ordinary phrase in the UK, Australia and other Commonwealth countries.
- On NewsRadio, Beth tries to make the phrase "bitchcakes" popular. Strangely enough, it seems to work.
- An episode of The Muppet Show featured John Cleese as a (Kayfabe) extremely reluctant host who was forced to perform show tunes against his will. He kept protesting, but the Muppets would just take every one of has sentences and turn it into a song lyric. The whole thing eventually snowballed into a showstopping rendition of "To Dream the Impossible Dream."
- How I Met Your Mother
- Barney is constantly coming up with new expressions and concepts which he tries to popularize. ("It's gonna be a thing.") Some of these have fizzled; others have caught on in-show and even in real life. Occasionally one will come back to bite him, like his "lemon law" did. But he never cares because he is so happy that it's a "thing".
- Barney is a tad hypocritical when he chided Grant, the actor playing his "son" for trying to make "Tyler no likey" into his catchphrase; only a tad, though, given that this behaviour could have caused a Broken Masquerade.
- Michael in the Zoey 101 episode "Drippin' Episode" tried to make "drippin'" catch on as a synonym for "cool." Other characters repeatedly told him it would never catch on...until the last minute of the episode, when it apparently has. Problem is, nobody believes that he started it, which prompts him to try making another forced meme... "flump" as a synonym for "not cool."
- Parodied on Masked Rider: Dex speaks in advertisements.
- John from Delocated is constantly trying to create new lingo. None of it ever catches on and he just looks like an idiot instead.
- On The Office:
- Andy's initial appearance has him trying to force Dwight out of the company by undermining him to Michael at every occasion. In one episode he invents the verb "Schruting" to mean screwing up and betraying everyone. He has no intention of making it a thing, but it does help in convincing Michael to fire Dwight by the end of the day.
- In a later episode, Andy tries the same approach to humiliate two co-workers who have gotten on his bad side: "...and if you Toby out, you'll feel like a real Nellie!"
- A real life example from Seinfeld, a writer admitted that he expected "Anti-dentite" to become a commonly used phrase in real life given how catchphrases used in the show became popular in real life. "Yadda-yadda-yadda" accidentally became the widely used catchphrase, although it was already used before and Seinfeld just made it more popular.
- The reality TV show Call of the Wildman has "Aiaiaiaiaiaiai! Live Action!" He says it practically every other sentence. It's not hard to imagine the producers screaming "CATCH ON!" every time he does it. Too bad it's so grating.
- Sam & Cat takes the Advertising "Twitter Hashtag" to a new level by having the episode names be in #EpisodeName form.
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, Crow attempts this with the Catch-Phrase "You know you want me, baby!", as he had ordered two million t-shirts with the phrase on it. Mike points out that he's never said this before, despite Crow's insistence that he had. Crow and Tom attempt to get Mike to do his own catchphrase, but fail... then think he's failing harder when he says "Pearl's calling", which he does say every episode in the Sci-Fi era. Ironically, these t-shirts are actually for sale.
- The sequence came from the Best Brains receiving an order of T-shirts with that phrase in the place of one of Crow's actual common catchphrases, "bite me."
- In the final episode of the sketch comedy Round House, one of the casts' attempts to keep the show from being cancelled is to make "Machine wash warm, tumble dry" a hot new catchphrase.
- Dave on Happy Endings tries to popularize the neologism "chicksand." Max mocks him for it until it starts catching on.
Max: You drowned, bro, in chicksand. I like it and I'm taking credit for it.
- At the turn of The '90s, Michael Jackson was jealous of the media nicknames given to Elvis Presley ("The King of Rock and Roll"), Bruce Springsteen ("The Boss"), etc., so his handlers came up with "The King of Pop, Rock, and Soul" for him. It was introduced to the public via an awards ceremony speech given by Elizabeth Taylor and shortened to "The King of Pop" soon afterwards. In the run-up to the release of Dangerous in 1991, Jackson's management urged MTV and Fox to use the phrase in all press releases, etc. related to Jackson and his videos. Rumors flew that the former was forced to use the phrase constantly; these were confirmed in the 2011 oral history I Want My MTV. This effort partially succeeded, since fans embraced the nickname right away, but once word got out about its origins, Jackson's publicity machine continuing to push it even as his career entered its downward spiral led to articles/news items cheekily calling him the "self-proclaimed King of Pop" in later years. The meme persists today — even Jermaine Jackson's announcement to the press that Michael had died started with: "My brother, legendary King of Pop Michael Jackson..." — and fans insist it's a Fan Nickname Taylor created.
- BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills started a campaign on October 30, 2006 to get the song "Chacarron Macarron" (infamously featured in many YouTube videos, ytmnd pages and G Mod montages) to #1 in the UK singles chart, presumably due to its unusual lyrics and musical style. A link was put up on the BBC website to the video on YouTube. Although the song did not reach the top, the campaign pushed the song all the way up to #20, which became its peak.
- Many accuse LMFAO (or at least their marketing people) of doing this, especially with "Everyday I'm Shuffling", a repeated lyric, though non-indicative of the song's title.
- The Scissor Sisters seem to be trying to turn the title of their song, "Let's Have a Kiki," into a meme.
- A common accusation against Lady Gaga's bizarre costumes and videos.
- Drummer Hal Blaine popularized the nickname "The Wrecking Crew" for the elite group of Los Angeles-based session musicians who played on a staggering number of 1960s pop hits via the title of his 1990 autobiography Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew. Whether this name was actually used in the 60s, or was used by anyone other than Blaine himself is a big point of contention among the other musicians.
- Robin Thicke's video for "Blurred Lines" contained giant flashing red hashtags showing the name of the song (and the album) and the names of the participating musicians. Weirdly enough, "Blurred Lines" did achieve meme status, but not through any activity on the "#THICKE" hashtag.
- Meghan Trainor's continual use of "bass" to refer to curves or "booty" can be seen as this. She first used it in "All About That Bass", but her second single ("Lips Are Movin'") includes the lyrics "Tell me you're not just about this bass" and, "I gave you bass (bass!)/you gave me sweet talk..." Many people thought the reference was trying too hard and happened too soon.
- Rather blatant with EDM DJ duo The Chainsmokers' song "#SELFIE." If the hashtag wasn't any indication, most critics have remarked that making the meme seems to be the entire point of the song, as evidenced by the single-line chorus "But first, lemme take a selfie."
- One Zits strip featured Jeremy trying to get his slang term "plasmic" (meaning, "fine", as in "How are you?" "Plasmic") to catch on. It didn't, and he wound up giving up right away.
- Something similar happened in another strip, where Pierce tries to popularize saying "fully" instead of "totally." It was only in one strip, so presumably it didn't catch on.
- Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, has admitted to several attempts to force memes that failed - including "porcelain cruise" (number 2 in the lavatory) and "Powerpoint Poisoning". Luckily, he has plenty of memes and tropes arising from his non-attempts (e.g. Pointy-Haired Boss).
- The comic strip Drabble once devoted a week's worth of strips trying to coin the word "Drabbleation" to mean the act of remembering embarrassing moments.
- The Boondocks had an arc in which Caesar reads a comic about making new slang words. Examples include replacing "cool" and "money" with "sudsy" and "Pillsbury", respectively. This inspires Caesar to make his own slang by replacing, "I'm leaving", with, "I'm Snuffleupagus". It doesn't really catch on with anyone else, except for Grandad, who's unfortunately old enough to make new slang uncool.
- One Pearls Before Swine strip has rat come up with a phrase he hopes sweeps the nation, and the creator Stephan Pastis admitted he always attempts to get the phrase to catch on. See the strip here.
Major League Baseball
- Following a 1969 panel that voted him the Greatest Living Ballplayer, Joe DiMaggio would insist on being referred to as so whenever he was introduced at events for the rest of his life (late 1998). This despite other worthy candidates for the distinction being alive at the time (Ted Williams, Stan Musial), and players such as Willie Mays and Henry Aaron finishing up their careers a few years later with credentials that were worthy enough to usurp DiMaggio for the distinction.
- When WCW was still around, there were some accusations that the "Goldberg" chant was piped in, or had plants in the audience to get it started. Diamond Dallas Page pointed out that the company likely didn't have the money (or the know-how) to rig a system up like that.
- In 2005, the former WrestleCrap message boards (now the Freakin Awesome Network forums) tried to get Dennis Stamp ("I'm not booked" from Beyond the Mat) over as a meme, and it worked, at least on said message board.
- It may have ascended when Zack Ryder referenced Dennis Stamp and recreated the trampoline scene on his Internet show.
- RD Reynolds and Triple Kelly tried to force "Basketball Jones" (Triple Kelly's nickname for Batista) as a meme, even going as far as to filter Batista's name into that aforementioned name. It didn't go over with the boards, though.
- The color commentators (Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole being the worst offenders) seem to have lots of stock phrases that they use over and over, but most of them never catch on among anyone else. Of particular note is Lawler's "Krispy Kreme" wisecrack, which was used one other time by someone else.
- Anything related to Cole after his heel turn. Just talk to anyone of his "Cole Miners" and see how quickly they keep reusing anything Cole has said over and over again.
- Botchamania forced the "Cornette Face" into a meme.
"Fuck this company!"
- In 2011, WWE caught onto the whole idea that social networking could actually be a good thing to raise the profile of their company. They responded by promoting the hell out of Twitter on their shows and trying to turn everything into a Trending Topic, arguably to the detriment of their actual product. This reached its logical conclusion in December 2011 with a Trending Superstar Award, given to the first Superstar to trend during a specific match.
- WWE, apparently not getting the message from their run with Twitter, has now been promoting video-sharing social network Tout just as hard, if not harder than Twitter. Since WWE is an investor in Tout, it's more justifiable, if no less annoying. The big issue here, though, is that Tout almost seems like a step backwards (Tout allows people to record and upload videos from anywhere, like YouTube, except with the added handicap of Tout videos only being about 15 seconds long.)
- The big effort from WWE over the past few years has been the rebranding of the company's fans as "the WWE Universe". Much in the same way that wrestlers are known as "Superstars" in order to gradually distance the company from its wrestling product, "the WWE Universe" are not so much wrestling fans as purveyors of all the fine and varied media products WWE has to offer...which is about 99.2% wrestling. One cannot hear the phrase without it ringing in the ears as forced and unnatural, especially since it takes so much more conscious effort to say as opposed to simply "the fans".
- During the feud between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan (and love triangle with AJ Lee) WWE tried TWICE to force memes/catchphrases for CM Punk. One being the phrase "I dig crazy chicks." after AJ started getting over during the angle (to the point of making a shirt) and the other "Goatface" as an insult towards Bryan. Both of them failed miserably with the shirt not even making it to TV and Goatface only being used tepidly at best because it was an insult that was both lame and didn't make a ton of sense.
- WWE is very determined to make "goatface" a thing, to the point where the commentators now seem to think that's Daniel Bryan's actual name even something like a year later, but the phrase is probably more associated with Strong Bad than with Daniel Bryan.
- During the Rock's run in 2013, he seems to speak to CM Punk and Paul Heyman almost exclusively in these, mixed with the Twitter trending mentioned above. He succeeded with the "Fruity Pebbles" and "Boots 2 Asses" with John Cena, and seemed to try to recreate it the very forced-seeming "Cookiepuss" for Punk and "Walrus" for Heyman, neither of which were taken very far by anybody aside from Rock himself, the commentators, and a handful of fans (mostly kids).
- Daniel Bryan's "YES" chants. It got taken to the point where, in-character, he got completely sick of it and now screams "NO!" each time his fans try it. Predictably, that also turned into a meme, and serves to egg the audience and fellow wrestlers into shouting it even more.
- John "Bradshaw" Layfield seems to have been put on the commentary team for the sole purpose of enforcing these. If a wrestler has a catchphrase or similar that asks for audience participation (R-Truth's "What's up", the Uso's "When we say 'Us' you say 'O'", and Los Matadores' "Ole" chants), JBL will loudly scream it into his headset when the fans are asked to.
- Miley Cyrus twerked once in 2013. WWE refuses to let go of the idea of it being a meme and use JBL as a vehicle of forcing it to the point where he seems to believe any movement by the human body constitutes as twerking.
- Discussed on SHIMMER Volume 80 as Dave Prazak pondered ways to discredited the "One Fall" meme while a sore Veda Scott accused the fans of trying to turn "Heidi Lovelace Is My Favorite Wrestler" into a chant. A Heidi Lovelace song broke out not long afterwards.
- To try and ease the transition from Warhammer to Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Games Workshop released free army lists updating existing forces for the new game. Not only do these rules require players to shout faction warcries like "WAAAGH!!" or "For the Lady!" when activating certain units' special abilities, there are even wackier things such as a model who gets re-rolls if you have a more impressive mustache than your opponent, a formation that gets bonuses if you never crack a smile, and a model that will cost you the game if you for whatever reason kneel during the match. This has not helped an already thoroughly-Broken Base, and some have accused GW of taking a Cargo Cult approach to creating fun rather than creating a situation where fun can develop.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, New Transfer Student Selphie tries to force "Booyaka" into being cool. It fails.
- Pokémon: "FUCK YEAH, SEAKING!" initially started as one, but has since been accepted as a meme.
- In World of Warcraft, in response to the sudden popularity of the minor Horde character Varok Saurfang (whether this in itself is a forced meme or not depends on whether your find Chuck Norris "facts" funny or not), many Alliance players attempted to use the same meme to promote Alliance minor heroes, in hopes of recreating the Saurfang phenomenon.
- To date, they have tried this for Bolvar Fordragon initially, then Magni Bronzebeard when that didn't catch on, then Varian Wrynn (... with disastarous results), then Magni's brother Muradin Bronzebeard, and in Cataclysm it was attempted again with Genn Greymane and Darius Crowley. To date, none of these characters have actually caught on, despite many of them being generally likable (or at least tolerable) by the entire playerbase. Although it has resulted in Blizzard giving many of these characters, Bolvar in particular, more prominent roles in the story. note
- With the release of Portal 2, several attempts have been made to get something to catch on to be the next "The cake is a lie!". This has included "SPAAAAACE!", "I'm a potato!" and "combustible lemons". While they have caught on among Portal fans, none of them have manage to achieve the same widespread popularity. The most likely reason is simply because it couldn't possibly be just as unique and fresh as the original was - which was what amplified the popularity of those original memes.
- It could also be an attempt by the writers to make the memes of Portal 2 to be not so popular as the cake meme due to how they got sick of everyone telling them how the cake is a lie.
- At the ending of the first game, they put a hoop falling from the air after the destruction of the lab after the fight with GLaDOS. The creators named it "Hoopy the Hoop", and they said that it was intended to be the Portal meme, instead of "the cake is a lie", and that they were thinking they would be making T-shirts of Hoopy the Hoop when the game came out. Ironically, the Weighted Companion Cube would become a meme in much the same way Hoopy was expected to.
- In Dwarf Fortress forums on Bay 12, referring to Hell as the "circus" or the "clown car" or the "circus tent", the inhabitants as "clowns", and the stuff you dig through to get there as "cotton candy" or just "candy" has met with mixed results, with some fans amusedly adopting the phrasing and others finding it ridiculous.
- For a time, a certain user would reply to everything with "MAGMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" and would periodically be called upon to do such in threads, a developing forced meme which garnered some hate and was finally killed off for good when said user was banned for unrelated reasons.
- A successful and popular example from Mass Effect 2: "Don't. Fuck. With Aria." While there was quite a bit of Mundane Made Awesome in the intonation, the fanbase still ran with it, turning her into a major Ensemble Darkhorse.
- In Kingdom of Loathing's community, you're supposed to refer to a certain endgame item as "smurf" because its real name reveals the means of producing it (you literally craft the letters W, A, N, and D to make a WAND). Hardly anyone does it, though, because the item's importance and creation method are massive Guide Dang Its, so most people eventually look up the solution anyway.
- The "HOO! HAH!" meme referring to Diddy Kong's infamous down throw to up air combo in Super Smash Bros. was born from a smasher named StaticManny shouting it out loud every time it was used at a Smash U tournament. After a video of well-known player Hungrybox ragequitting out of annoyance (at Manny) became widespread, the meme became accepted. However, when the combo eventually got patched out due to the controversy, the meme abruptly faded away.
- In Unwinder's Tall Comics, Unwinder tries to force a meme by mentioning it in webcomics he draws. Webcomics that he started solely to spread said meme.
- Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is intended as a source of memes for the characters in Homestuck.
- It's also a successful Fountain of Memes outside the comic as well.
- The Homestuck fandom itself has had a few forced memes trying to ride on the success of "What's in the box, Jack?", involving before-after reaction pictures of characters.
- In-universe, Caliborn is determined to make "You can't escape the miles" into a "thing", but most of the other characters think it's stupid.
- Darths & Droids gave us "Jar Jar, you're a genius", with the author's commentary clearly indicating his intent to create the meme.
- From the pages of Keychain of Creation (or rather, its forum): nooooo my scheme
- Since The Order of the Stick has a lot of Ensemble Darkhorses as it is, some fans picked a totally random Azurite soldier ("That Guy With a Halberd") and tried to elevate him to this status. It sort of worked—-he gets brought up a lot when it's time to make Crack Pairings, but still, he's no O-Chul.
- El Goonish Shive seemed to be doing this with "sexy awesome," but the phrased hasn't been used in the comic in years (fans on the board still use it, though).
- Bob and George: According to author comments, he expected "Butts Smell Nice" to catch on as a meme, but didn't really push it when it didn't catch on. The memes that did catch on, like "Wanna go do something stupid?" he considered impossible to predict.
- In Least I Could Do, Rayne tries to spread the use of "vagoo" as a more casual synonym for the vagina. Some time later, one of his female co-workers uses it, and he remarks "I knew that would catch on!"
- Oh, "vagoo" (or, rather, "vag○○○!") did catch on, but not because of Least I Could Do. It took an IKEA Erotica scene in an H-rated Fate/stay night fan comic to "jam it in" to the Internet's collective consciousness.
- He's also tried to invent new games like "Sit On My Face" (complete with theme song!) and "Put It In My Pants" (only rule: no staplers).
- Sheldon succeeds in doing this with the word "Frr" to win a bet. He succeeds largely by throwing around huge piles of cash to TV and music executives.
- In QUILTBAG, Lisa films herself perching like a duck and quacking. She's trying to make "ducking" a meme by combining the "duck face" (as in selfie) and "owling" memes.
- One◊ Married to the Sea image is of a man digging through a trash bin, desperately trying to come up with a new meme.
- Ironically enough, "Advice Dog", the meme responsible for the "meme format" we know now (an image with a top and bottom string of text in Impact font) was forced. And look at where we are now.
- Welcome to Tumblr, where memes live and die in as little as two weeks, go unnoticed by certain spots of Tumblr until weeks later, and where dead, year-old memes crawl back out of the dirt and get into a firestorm of reblogs, hate mail, and annoyance.
- John Green of the vlogbrothers is trying to make "French the llama!" into a meme. It has met with limited success within the Nerdfighter fanbase, but elsewhere... not yet.
- This happens quite often on Know Your Meme. Nearly daily in fact. And everyone there is tired of the constant forcing attempts. It will never work. It's gotten to the point where there's a rule there explicitly banning it. Unfortunately for the moderators, it's really hard to tell the difference between a legitimate but obscure meme and one that was made up on the spot. However, KYM has also been accused of bolstering obscure memes, thus giving them a push into greater memetic status they wouldn't even have were it not for being featured on KYM. In short, KYM is often accused of not letting memes happen naturally.
- Established entries also suffer from this, as each user tries to increase exposure for his or her favorite meme, and create tons of filler and related posts.
- This... thing. They don't get more blatant than this.
- It doesn't help that submissions that get rejected are still given their own pages just like any other meme, rather than being deleted upon rejection. The only difference is that rejected articles have a big red banner at the top that states they were rejected. That leaves the door wide open for forcing the memes if the right person comes across it...
- TV Tropes.
- Occasionally someone tries to sneak his or her idea for a meme on to a page, sometimes going so far as to interfere with other entries to force them into the limelight.
- Also occurs in the naming of tropes. It's a very real debate in the forums, from time to time, whether the purpose of TV Tropes includes promoting specific fan-speak terms so as to become recognized across all fandoms. Please, no specific examples here, though.
- Following the same principle, occasionally it happens that the creator of some fan-work writes a trope page for their work themselves. This isn't bad on its own, but in some cases it is incredibly obvious that the page would not have been written if not for the creator's own ego.
- Occasionally this succeeds on 4chan, and other forum Web sites.
- Milhouse was an early attempt on 4chan to force a meme and, in a weird meta way, succeeded. Milhouse became a way to call out subsequent forced attempts and would occasionally appear to ask if he was a meme yet, leading to "Milhouse is not a meme" becoming a meme. In other words, Milhouse is not a meme, but "Milhouse is not a meme" is a meme; it's said that if you can understand this, you have achieved 4chan enlightenment.
- 4chan's anonymous posting means it's subject to a disproportionate number of meme-forcing attempts, since it's easy for a single person to pretend to be multiple people while spamming the would-be meme. "Samefag" is the term users have come up with for people who do this (though it's also commonly leveled at any post that agrees with any prior one that someone else doesn't agree with).
- The New Meme Face was created on 4Chan by a single user and was forced by him replying to the thread mostly on his own. New Meme did briefly catch on, similar to Milhouse, as way to call out forced memes. Users have debated whether or not "New Meme" was just another forced meme or a parody.
- Baneposting did not start as a forced meme, but it grew out of control and became so forced that people started repeating it unconciously.
- Keit-Ai is a good example of a forced meme on 4chan that, through sheer repetition and memetic mutation, eventually became an actual meme acknowledged by Know Your Meme and TV Tropes themselves.
- On YouTube, people occasionally attempt to become Internet famous by posting odd videos.
- There are many, many examples of failed attempts. In some cases the eagerness is so bad, that the video itself is also made a Youtube ad, even if no product is (apparently) being promoted. For example, "El Paso Positivo".
- Which actually seems more like a milk-related campaign
- There are many, many examples of failed attempts. In some cases the eagerness is so bad, that the video itself is also made a Youtube ad, even if no product is (apparently) being promoted. For example, "El Paso Positivo".
- On Reddit, "celebrities" are notorious for trying to create catch phrases and fads, often through the guise of "novelty" accounts that write posts in a way that is reminiscent of their username. e.g. A person calling himself angryallcaps will type angry messages in all caps. Additionally, some image macros or memes are repeatedly submitted and reposted en masse in order to brute force them into the community's consciousness.
- John Lemon was a minor meme based on a pun on Lennon's name, that lasted for before dying off mostly unknown. But now, there has been a big push to make it a new meme, with r/Dank Memes declaring it the meme of the year. Not everyone has been happy about it, decrying it as forced. This article discusses it.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Joey tries to force "Brooklyn Rage" into becoming a meme, only to be swiftly cut down by Yami (and his "Egyptian Rage"). The funny thing is, it worked: Brooklyn Rage became a meme, to the point where Wayne Grayson (Joey's official voice actor in the 4Kids dub) cites "Brooklyn Rage" as his favourite Joey line despite him "never actually saying it in the show".
- CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES!!!
- "And don't forget. Kroze. KROZE. KROOOOOOOOOZE!!!"
- Yugi's attempts at "Super special awesome!" which Joey continues to deride.
- Lolcolization, which actually sounds pretty funny if it does take off. However, its forced status is on purpose: Kaiba is fighting a 4Kids executive whose strategy relies on his Deck Master destroying "Unfunny Internet Memes" (using the "CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES" to show how it works). So in response, Kaiba forces a meme about localizing things the same way 4Kids does, forcing the deck master to destroy itself.
- Are there any other Abridged forced memes? TELL ME!!!
- In his review for Double Team, The Nostalgia Critic openly demanded for "Frying the Coke" to be turned into a meme. It... didn't work. It didn't help that he tried to compare "Frying the Coke" to Jumping the Shark, which is a trope, and Nuking the Fridge, which was meant to be the Jumping the Shark trope applied to film. He later clarified "Frying the Coke" to mean an instance where somebody does something so stupid that you can't help but find it awesome. So it is, more or less, an incidental form of Crazy Awesome. Earlier, he had succeeded far more with turning The Nostalgia Chick's Big-Lipped Alligator Moment into a trope, probably in part because it was something we didn't really have a term for yet. Out of character as the Critic, Doug Walker has said that it always amazes him which of his quotes become memes and which don't. One success that particularly surprised him was the phrase Fuckin' bubbles, which he never planned to become a meme in the first place.
- Of course, one that did succeed: "I was frozen today!"
- The YTMND equivalent is called a "forced fad". Examples include Moon Man, Drew Pickles, and Mr. Krabs.
- Google bombing.
- Additionally, 4chan users are notorious for mass searching specific characters strings and keywords, such as 卐, ✈ ▌▌ or justin bieber syphilis so that they appear on the Google trends page and get picked up by news sources.
- Twitter trending, for that matter.
- DeviantArt seems to be trying to turn llamas into a meme, what with its llama emote, llama badges, and all that.
- Who are in turn being forced into the llama meme by Maxis, original owner of the Sim-whatever series.
- Similarly, there are "draw something in response to this/these question(s)" based memesnote which are very popular within the site so can be considered a small-scale meme.
- Within the Orion's Arm setting transapients can do this with ease, often with serious side effects. People usually have their mail edited to make it "memetically neutral".
- The Amazing Atheist tried to make "You Have Been Blueberry Pied" into some kind of new Rickroll. It failed.
- This Cracked article with the word "dongtacular". The word's spread quite successfully throughout the website (though the dongtacularness of its longevity is up to question).
- After the Platypus Comix article "Errors in Corporate Judgment" included a Magic Eye puzzle with a description that used "Froggy" as a synonym for "awesome," Peter Paltridge closed the article by declaring "Froggy" official slang for the website.
- Going way back to the long-ago time of 2001, the newsgroup rec.arts.tv.mst3k.misc tried an experiment to get the phrase "monkey sugar" into common language. It didn't work, but it did get an Urban Dictionary page five years later, and the term is still in (infrequent) use on the newsgroup itself.
- Before the game came out, the Diablo 3 GDF had "Cool Shelf", based on a Translation Train Wreck post. Wound up gaining popularity until the community manager Bashiok actually labeled a part of his desk "Cool Shelf".
- The Vampire Game is a forum thread being virally posted by one person across multiple forums as of late. The author claims that the more offensive elements of the original post are in fact the ideas of a relative who strongarms them into adding them
- The story goes that Cycon of Project DCK attempted to force "cream them jeans" in some podcast series or other. He tried to force it so hard that it died in record time and even he got sick of it before more than a couple episodes.
- Gary Brolmsa, the Numa Numa Guy is a successful attempt from when memes in general were just starting to get widespread attention.
- Topless Robot: WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS?!
- The Runaway Guys tried this with Wario's "D'oh, I missed!" It worked.
- NES Godzilla Creepypasta had "STILL THE BEST 1973", it had no reason to exist in the story other than hoping it became memetic. It succeded.
- On Game Grumps, JonTron and Egoraptor accidentally came up with Seven Asses, and Jon hoped their fanbase would turn it into a meme. The fans found it hilarious, so it might actually take off.
- The brazilian comedian Marcos Castro is trying to do this with his "Total Urination" meme.
- Brows Held High parodied this in the review of Twilight Of The Ice Nymphs, ending with Kyle announcing his intent to turn a bizarre monologue about trees, from the film, into a meme.
- YouTube Poops basically exist as a concept to create forced memes through an ADHD approach to editing. Some do become small-form memes within their respective communities (PINGAS, Mama Luigi, and "the JoJ" for instance) whereas most... most are just there to be purely bizarre and nothing else.
- newLEGACYinc's "Not in my salad."
- The Journal Roleplay anon site Wankgate has "hi rebutle", a reference to an player named Rebutle, who was quite infamous in the Livejournal days of Journal Roleplaying. Where it once stood for essentially "You're taking this way too seriously", seeing it posted all over the place for these sorts of things has lost its edge and even had the page's mod getting tired of it.
- The Hardcore Kid, in his review of Mac and Me, suggests that other reviewers start using the memetic "wheelchair falls into the lake" scene as a Bait-and-Switch.
- Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse has Raquelle try to abbreviate "gorgeous" as "gorg". Teresa and Nikki express belief that It Will Never Catch On, but their Bizarro Universe counterparts - Clarrisa and Vicki - make frequent use of it. In fact, Raquelle eventually deems it an Overused Running Gag. When Raquelle returns to the normal version of Malibu, she hears Barbie try to help popularize "gorg", but doesn't try to stop the word from spreading.
- For an April Fools stunt in 2014, YouTube actually claimed that all of the site's viral videos and memes were created by YouTube themselves, and posted "previews" of upcoming trends for 2014 (essentially telling people that they are supposed to eventually be memes), such as "clocking", "Kissing Dad", "Baby Shaming", "Gettysburg Addressing", and the Gangnam Style pastiche "Glub Glub Water Dance".
- Bill Cosby (or, more likely, someone working for him) decided to roll out a meme generator with pictures of him. Unfortunately for Cosby, this was just after past allegations of sexual abuse from 2006 resurfaced. Twitter and Tumblr had a field day. Time will tell how this affects his career.
- The Interrupting Meme "Fuck her right in the pussy" is all but forced; the "original" video (supposedly showing an on-air rant by a news reporter rant that concluded with said line) was fake. The creator, John Cain (who was also the "anchor" in said video, and has done stuff like this before), went on to film several other videos in 2014, supposedly featuring a man named "Fred" interrupting live reports on two Cincinnati newscasts with the line. Eagle-eyed viewers noted that they featured reporters who don't even work at the stations he was supposedly on, and that they weren't even filmed in Cincy. Oh, and you'll never guess who sells the official merchandise. Despite this, the videos still went viral, and people began to defictionalize the practice of yelling "fuck her right in the pussy" at news reporters.
- Kim Kardashian's infamous "Break The Internet" photoshoot. It became a meme alright, but not the way that was intended.
- Chris Jericho has been trying his damnedest to get "fruit" turned into a synonym for "cool" or "sweet", under the logic of "someone had to be the first guy to say something was 'cool'". Has not been working out for him.
- Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation coined the term "spectacle fighter" to describe games like Viewtiful Joe or God Hand, and once joked that he was determined to "shoehorn it into common parlance". It didn't really work, although plenty of other terms he's used have since achieved memetic status (as various tropes on this very wiki illustrate).
- Superhot: At the end of the game, you are asked to spread the word of the game with the phrase "It's the most innovative shooter I played in years". Judging by the spread of the phrase, it succeeded.
- Invoked and defied with Zenzi, a meme that was created by 4chan with the intent of discrediting Behind the Meme, a popular YouTube series devoted to explaining memes that they thought was ruining their insider culture by exposing it to the mainstream. They hoped to trick Behind the Meme into doing a video on a fake meme that they had created from whole cloth, thereby leaving the series and its creators with egg on their faces once the truth came out. However, the creators of Behind the Meme caught on to what was happening almost immediately, and the video explaining Zenzi was largely a Take That! at the elitism of the corners of the internet that birthed it.
- Once upon a time, leftist Twitter and Tumblr (the line is blurred because the responsible individuals frequented both web sites) decided they were tired of Denny's co-opting every "hot new meme" to appear "relatable". So they decided to force "John C. Miller, CEO and President of the Denny's Corporation, is a capitalist running dog and his wealth must be seized and redistributed to the people" as a meme, to see what happened. Denny's found a way to co-opt it.
- Rodimusprime of The Black Guy Who Tips tried to generate a stereotype for white people equivalent to "Black people love fried chicken/watermelon." At least among his audience, "White people love cheese/mayonnaise" seems to have stuck.
- This review of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode "Along Came a Spider...", the first of three episodes in which the writers hired Josh Keaton to voice Spider-Man, only for the producers to pay Ultimate Spider-Man star Drake Bell to dub over all of Keaton's lines, tried to encourage the spread of two Twitter hashtags, #JoshKeatonIsSpiderMan and #DrakeBellIsNotSpiderMan, to convince Marvel to include Keaton's lines on the EMH DVDs. They apparently didn't catch on, as the DVDs only include Bell's versions of the episodes. It might not have helped that Keaton himself thought the second hashtag sounded too mean.
- In one episode of American Dad!, Stan mentions offhandedly that he's been trying and failing to create a new catchphrase. At least, Klaus liked it.
- The B-plot of another episode focuses on Francine trying to do the exact same thing. With Klaus's help she actually finds one ("looks like things are getting too spicy for the pepper"), and waits for when the time is right to use it. When she does, Jeff likes it and it starts to catch on, but by the end of the episode its revealed that it was already an established catchphrase that even had its own T-Shirt and billboard advertisement.
- The writers hoped that one episode of The Simpsons (Homer Defined) would introduce the phrase to "pull a Homer" (to succeed despite idiocy) into the English language. It didn't. Now, the dozens of times they didn't try to pull off a meme... most of those worked.
- A British sportsperson used it once, to the confusion of those in the news.
- In the episode of South Park where the characters met their "evil" counterparts from another dimension, Cartman kept using the word "hella" as an adverb meaning "very" or "extremely." It never caught on among anyone else, and Kyle kept (unsuccessfully) telling Cartman to stop using it.
- This is real Northern California slang, occasionally sprouting up elsewhere. It later actually did gain memetic status without South Park's help.
- In another episode, Cartman tried to spread 'meekrob' as a swear word. Then it turned out that 'meekrob' was a word that offended God.
- "I have an idea that's totally tits!" "Totally WHAT?"
- The episode "The Poor Kid" featured a Department of Child Disservices worker who enjoyed awkwardly shoehorning jokes about the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Cartman called him out on how unfunny and uncreative the jokes were: "All you’re doing is taking something topical and revamping old Catholic jokes!"
- Trey and Matt really hoped "Muff Cabbage" would catch on but admitted in the commentary it never did.
- In an episode of The Critic, Jay's boss Duke has paid off Webster's Dictionary to invent his own words, like "Dukelicious". Much to his disappointment, nobody's using them ("What a Duketastrophe!").
- One of the Robot Chicken Star Wars specials has Anakin/Darth Vader trying to bring back "wizard."
- One episode had Ted Turner dressing up as Captain Planet, and attacking people while shouting, "CAPTAIN PLANET!". Cut to Hal Sparks announcing that "CAPTAIN PLANET!" would be the biggest catchphrase of the new millennium: "My friends say it all the time and then we kick each other in the nuts."
- Discussed briefly in-universe with Fantastic Mr. Fox and his made-up Verbal Tic: whistling and then clicking his tongue.
- In Family Guy, the first act of "I Dream of Jesus" is about Peter forcing the song Surfin' Bird as a meme. It starts out funny, but then intentionally drives any potential humor into the ground to inspire Brian and Stewie to break as many copies of the song as they can.
- Of course, in real life this worked to send the 50-year-old song to the top of the UK singles charts the week that Family Guy aired.
- In "Seahorse Seashell Party", Stewie says a zinger followed by a group of singers saying "Stewie Just Said That". Later, Stewie finds that people are already posting the phrase on Twitter, both in-universe and during the first broadcast in real life.
- Stewie mispronouncing Cool Whip comes off very much as this. It caught on regardless.
- Madagascar 3's advertising included a scene with a little song called "Afro Circus". At first, it was funny. Then it quickly stopped being funny around the point Nickelodeon aired it during every commercial break of new shows, with an ad consisting solely of Afro Circus-ing.
- The word "Booyakasha" in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) series (itself the Catch-Phrase of the protagonist of Da Ali G Show).
- On the commentary for the SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas special, it is said that they hoped the phrase "You, I'm ignoring" would become a popular thing. It seems like everything but that became popular.
- Probably the one negative thing you can say about the writing in Animaniacs is that it was incessant with pushing its catchphrases. In particular, it was an openly-stated goal that "Hello, nurse!" would become the next "What's up, Doc?" It didn't, but it's nowhere near a Discredited Meme. Basically, the show had one bad catchphrase for every five good ones, and most of its forced memes remain well-respected to this day.