Brand Takeaways From Multiverse Of Madness Memes
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, more commonly known as MCU, has provided the Internet and its fans with endless content. MCU movies and TV shows inject humor into even the most heartbreaking storylines, enhancing the franchise’s memeability. This is evidenced most recently by the hype surrounding Marvel’s latest box office smash Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Released on May 6th, the memes surrounding Multiverse of Madness’s release offer brands a perfect case study about how planned “fandom content” around franchises like Marvel offer a simple, yet brand safe tactic in how to reach new users/customers and boost cultural relevance. Here are the top meme trends surrounding Multiverse of Madness and how brands can tap into the power of meme marketing through fandoms.
1. “This was my multiverse of madness” / “The most ambitious crossover event in history”
These meme refer to catchphrases that were used to caption various image macros showcasing ironically complex pop-culture references specific to each meme creator. It was first used on Twitter in early 2022. Its use is similar to other catchphrases that use Marvel and pop culture references like Infinity War Is The Most Ambitious Crossover Event In History.
On February 9th, 2022, Twitter user shesmywillow was the first to use the catchphrase in a tweet that captioned a poster for the Disney movie The Wizard’s Return: Alex vs. Alex based on the show Wizards of Waverly Place and starring Selena Gomez. The tweet was in reference to the Marvel movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which featured the character Scarlet Witch from Wandavision, who encountered an alternate reality version of herself in the film, similar to Alex in the Disney movie.
On March 19th, 2022, Twitter user meenastoyboy used the catchphrase in a similar vein by captioning a poster for the Disney movie Cinderella III: A Twist In Time, which also dealt with duplicate characters.
Despite its usage prior to May 2022, the catchphrase wasn’t used en masse until after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was released in theaters on May 6th, 2022. On May 5th, Twitter user cybrxangel captioned a screenshot from the Scooby Doo movie Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, earning roughly 23,600 likes over the course of six days. About an hour later, Twitter user whyrev also used it, captioning an image of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, earning roughly 193,200 likes over the course of six days.
2. ‘You Need to Read/Watch the Entire (x) to Understand It’
On Twitter, users joked that to fully understand the latest installment, people had to do everything from catching up on ABC’s hit sitcom “Abbott Elementary” to perusing the entirety of the Bible. The meme format is a variation of the following: “Not gonna spoil anything, but make sure to watch [insert tangentially connected Marvel project or something else entirely here] in preparation for ‘Doctor Strange 2.’”
This trend originated with a thread posted on May 2nd by Twitter user @gabirucarvalho that sarcastically suggested a series of obscure TV episodes or movies as a research tool that one should take seriously if they wanted to understand Multiverse of Madness. Carvalho’s thread was the first in a series of parodies that exploded in the days following his post. On May 3rd, Twitter user @itszaeok joked that viewers needed to watch Abbott Elementary to comprehend the movie. Minutes later, Twitter user @347584i posted an image macro of Dr. Strange, urging people to watch Batman before seeing Multiverse. Later that day, Twitter user @TolemustheGrey joked that movie goers should read the entire Bible before seeing the movie.
3. Wanda VS Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man
Fans of the MCU and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man sparked a huge debate on Twitter over whether or not he could kill Wanda or if Wanda would kill him first, based on the new movie. On May 6th, the day Multiverse of Madness was released, Twitter account @Spider_Culture posted a fake movie poster that showed Spider-Man beneath the glowing hands of Wanda Maximoff with the caption “Tobey Maguire would’ve killed Wanda…missed opportunity”. The tweet stirred viral discussion about which of the two MCU characters would win in a fight, with many using image macros or reaction gifs from both movies to support their argument. On May 8th, Twitter user @DapperBlueberr3 responded to @Spider_Culture with a gif of Maguire biting into a pastry with the caption “Tobey Maguire after slaughtering Wanda in cold blood with a f***ing mace.” Other users favored Wanda, like @FellingTimber, who shared a Spongebob meme and joked that Spider-Man fans would’ve been left deflated as soon as Wanda got her hands on him. The trend also permeated outside the MCU fandom with one user noting that “I love how they’re not even talking about Spider-Man anymore. It’s just real-world Tobey Maguire.”
4. “Spoilers without context”
MCU is considered to be one of the big franchises always filled with spoilers. Fans who want to discuss the film online without spoiling it for others have found a solution in no-context spoilers. This trend is particularly popular amongst the MCU fandom for shows like Moon Knight and of course, Multiverse of Madness. This Twitter meme format usually includes 4 images from unrelated shows/movies/comics/fandoms that hint at major events or moments from the movie and are usually captioned “spoilers without context”. This meme format is also unique because it creates an interactive component where other users try to decipher the hidden messages or spoilers from the photo grid. For brands, this is a great meme format to experiment with on Twitter as it checks boxes for both cultural relevancy and user interaction. Check out these examples from Twitter users @nicolas_frnd, @atbthai, or @motmultiverse to see the template these usually follow.
MCU’s latest movie has inundated social media in a multiverse of memes that reiterate two big takeaways about the viral power of meme marketing. First, forum/community based sites like Twitter and Reddit are often the best places for brands to track emerging trends, but they’re also the best platforms for brands to experiment with in trying new forms of content or conversational tone. We dive deeper on meme etiquette for different social media platforms here.
Lastly, integrating fandom-based content into a brand’s voice can be extremely powerful in boosting the virality and spread of a campaign. It’s important to note that spread can quickly lean the “wrong” way without due diligence in understanding a community/fandom’s culture or etiquette.