Ubaid Zargar

Memes, content, and culture: Youngun’s ingredients for a meme-orable campaign

With clients like Netflix, MakeMyTrip, and CRED, CEO Saksham Jadon breaks down the agency's journey so far, and the plan ahead.

Meme-marketing was virtually unheard of in the branding playbook, that is until some specialised agencies showed up at the marketers’ door. Gone are the days when brands took on the incredibly cluttered social media, without a qualified agency guiding them along their way. At least that is what Saksham Jadon says. 

Jadon is the founder and CEO of Youngun, a creative agency that specialises in memes, content, and popular internet culture. He started the company in 2020, prior to which he worked as an account executive at Look Who’s Talking, an influencer marketing agency. 

After a brief hiatus of around seven months, and perhaps an endless cycle of social media scrolling (of which we are all guilty), it dawned on Jadon that there was a marketing problem that he had just found a solution to. The problem, he says, was the lack of exclusivity in the way brands engaged with consumers on social media. And the solution? Memes.

“Everybody then was just repeating the same old style of communication, while hoping for different results. There was no distinction. And to me, it was a clear marketing problem that required a fix. And memes are just unadulterated, audience-first, content that essentially define social media as we know it today.”

He wasn’t the first one to identify this problem, or at least provide ‘meme-ing’ solutions to brands. RVCJ, another meme marketing agency, had already been in the industry for some time then. But, as per Jadon, the lack of exclusivity was still rampant in the industry.

Jadon then started vocalising his opinions through his blogs on LinkedIn, until Netflix spotted him and gave him and his infant agency a go. The small-sized company operating from a singular office never looked back ever since. 

“They just understood what I was trying to convey, and gave me a chance. We’ve been exclusive partners with Netflix for the past four years. We handle their title marketing operations, and it all started four years ago.”

Since then, the agency has worked with top clients such as Netflix, Amazon MiniTV, CRED, MakeMyTrip, Britannia, and more.

Here is what the agency basically does. Recently, FMCG brand Britannia took to social media to announce an internship vacancy for a ‘pronunciation expert’. To qualify, you had to know the correct pronunciation of the word ‘Croissant’. And in return, the brand was willing to pay a stipend of Rs 3 lakh in a day. 

Internship program with a stipend of Rs  3 lakh
Internship program with a stipend of Rs 3 lakh

Interested candidates were asked to register for the internship programme through Britannia’s WhatsApp channel. Within 24 hours, the brand recorded more than 25,000 participants for the internship. The brain behind the campaign? Youngun.

In January, a bunch of Bigg Boss fans gathered outside of Salman Khan’s residence, asking the Bollywood star for a chance to enter the popular reality TV show’s house. Khan then went on air for an episode of the TV show, and made an open request to Big Boss to make it happen.

It was later revealed that it was a collaboration between Bigg Boss and online travel booking platform MakeMyTrip, kickstarted by a tweet from Bigg Boss OTT 2 winner Elvish Yadav. 

Fans gather outside Salman Khan's residence
Fans gather outside Salman Khan's residence

This collaboration was also conceptualised and executed by Youngun. The use of different conversational formats, such as placards, an influencer tweet that looks fairly organic, and then a very subtle plug from the Bigg Boss host himself- is the summary of what Youngun does.

This is why the agency, besides being proficient in memes, is also pushing for culture marketing, where it helps brands leverage the popular internet culture for better and more organic engagements.

"There is a consistently evolving pattern of content consumption amongst audiences. To avoid redundancies or mediocrity, it is necessary that one is caught up with the culture of the internet. Content is only growing, and this is the space where brands need to be very creative," Jadon quips.

If there is one thing we know about memes, they flourish when the entirety of the internet populace comes together for a common event. We’re in the middle of the IPL. Has the meme marketing agency seen a spike in brands getting on the social hype? You bet.

“Honestly, the entire month of March was crazy for us. We’ve seen so many brands seek our services for IPL. Although, there is always a lot of traction at the beginning of the IPL season, and then it just drops as the tournament goes on. The knockouts will cause a spike too,” Jadon says.

Some of the brands Youngun has worked on for this IPL include WinZo, CRED, and MakeMyTrip, among others. 

Get set, pitch!

Typically, creative agencies approach brands with meticulously crafted pitches designed to captivate and persuade. Armed with market research, consumer insights, and a deep understanding of the brand's ethos, these agencies strive to present innovative concepts that promise to elevate the brand's visibility and resonance in the market. But, what if you just wanted to pitch memes?

What helps us in being so independent is that our pitches are very monopolistic. We don’t have any competitors, and brands that have done their research are aware of that.

For Youngun, there are two ways they find business. Either a brand, which is already doing a campaign, wants some social media expertise, and so it approaches the agency. Or, the agency walks up to a brand with a fresh ‘meme-ing’ idea, so to speak, which as per Jadon, is an art of its own.

Youngun doesn’t work with any other agencies on a campaign. Jadon says, “We’re direct partners of the brand, and have no connections to other agencies that may be working with the brand. What helps us in being so independent is that our pitches are very monopolistic. We don’t have any competitors, and brands that have done their research are aware of that.”

What this means, is that the agency has the privilege of circumventing the rigorous process of competing with multiple agencies when pitching to a single client. 

The path ahead

In the near future, I see Youngun also taking up branding campaigns, where we conceptualise and execute the entirety of it.

While the agency is still young, Jadon’s vision for the company lies in its expansion, in terms of the kind of services they provide. “We are looking at optimising our services for now. But once the quality is standardised to our liking, we’ll move from there into other avenues of creative work. In the near future, I see Youngun also taking up branding campaigns, where we conceptualise and execute the entirety of it. And in the long run, we’d like to be a full-fledged agency capable of all things creative.”

The company currently hosts roughly about 50 employees, operating on a hybrid work model. But as time progresses, Jadon expects the agency to grow in size.

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