The UK's Favourite Memes

September 18, 2017

Memes are pretty much as old as the internet itself, with many breaking out into mainstream culture, being referenced on TV and talked about at work.

Some are just a flash in the pan, while others have endured over years and years, popping up again and again in different forms and contexts.

But which are the UK’s favourite memes? To find out, we took 8 of the biggest ever image memes, and 8 of the biggest ever video memes, and asked 250 people across the UK to vote for their favourites in each category

Here are the results.

Grumpy Cat takes the top spot

With 23.1% of the popular vote, The Grumpy Cat meme won comfortably - the second most popular meme - success kid - had just a 15.8% share of the vote. Coming in third was ‘Overly Attached Girlfriend’, just pipping ‘First World Problems’ by 0.4% of the vote. 

The least popular image meme was ‘Good Guy Greg’ - it seems that nice guys really do finish last.

Will winning the popular vote make Grumpy Cat happier? Given she’s already amassed a £64 million fortune, we’re not sure this will tip the balance, but you never know...


Grumpy cat was a particular favourite amongst those who live in the South-East - a massive 42.9% picked it as their favourite meme.

The meme obviously resonated with cat owners too - people with a cat in their household chose this meme as their favourite with a sizeable 31.6% of the vote.

But, the cat was notably unpopular among students. Only 5.7% of students picked it as their favourite; they opted instead for the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme, which scored 25.7% of their vote. Interestingly, men prefer this meme by only 2 percentage points more than women, which implies that, despite being based on gender, the humour appeals to both male and female audiences.

The First World Problems meme is divisive. No one in the South-West voted for it, but 25% of the North-East voted for it. In general, this meme is more popular with men and people in employment.

Here are the results in full.

Pasted image at 2017_09_18 11_52 AM.png

Charlie bit my finger, and won the popular vote

The winner in the video meme category is ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’, with 31%, more than double the number of votes for the 2nd place video which was ‘Rick Rolling’ (gaining 14.9%).

In third place was ‘Nyan Cat’, while ‘Chocolate Rain’ came in last place.

It’s not too surprising that the Charlie video took top spot, with over 853 million views it remains one of the most popular YouTube videos of all time having once held the record for most viewed video.

Not seen it yet? Watch the 56 second clip before it hits a billion views!


What’s striking about the results is the popularity of ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ amongst women - 61.3% of whom voted for it.

By comparison, the second favourite, which amassed only 14.9% of the vote, was voted for by 58.3% of men.

Star Wars Kid has 66.7% of the vote among men, and amongst people who live in London, it ranked second most popular - Londoners contributed to 57.1% of this vote.

Here are the results in full.

Pasted image at 2017_09_18 11_50 AM.png

In conclusion

Surprise and novelty are the two core attributes for almost all the most popular memes, which are prerequisites for humour. 

So if you want your next image or video to go viral, focus on those elements, and maybe the internet will do the rest.

Related posts

5 Perspectives on The Brands to Watch in 2018

Who's going to stand out this year? Will brands that took a battering in 2017 make a statement in 2018? Will it be the year of challenger brands or incumbents?

To bring you answers to these questions (and more), we reached out to 5 experts with very different backgrounds across startups, content, social media, experiential marketing and audio to share their unique perspectives on who are the brands to watch in 2018.

Alison Battisby, Founder, Avocado Social

Monzo: The digital mobile-only challenger bank saw nearly half a million new users sign up for its services and claim their bright orange bank cards last year. Monzo is a fantastic way to manage your budget thanks to their instant updates in the app showing you how much you've just spent, and provide added value when used abroad thanks to their free withdrawls up to £200. 

Having just received their full UK banking license from the FCA and PRA in 2017, Monzo is rolling out "the best current account in the world". With their slick app and excellent communication, they are playing to millennials by offering a unique customer experience and we're set to see even more new banking features in 2018. 
Sanctus:  The mental health startup based in London has the vision to create the world's first mental health gym, where people can go and work out their mental health fitness as they would their physical fitness. Right now, the company is working with businesses to create space within a company for people to take time off and talk to a Sanctus coach. In 2018, the company aims to work with 50 business partners and continue to spread awareness of mental health. Founder   James Routledge   writes an excellent weekly newsletter on mental health and growing the startup, which is honestly written and is well worth a read .
Neom Organics:  Hot off the heels of significant new investment, this Harrogate-based beauty and wellbeing brand is set to launch a new range of products in 2018, as well as new retail stores both in the UK and abroad. Neom was found by two friends, one of which was an ex Glamour magazine editor who realised her own wellbeing, and that of her close friends, was affected by the stress and demands of modern life. She quit journalism to train as an aromatherapist and nutritionist before founding Neom. The brand's products focus on improving people’s wellbeing through home fragrances and skincare. 
Adam Azor, Managing Director, Curb
My first pick is Pepsi. Lets be honest, Pepsi had an awful 2017 from a brand perspective, they created what they thought was going to be a work of advertising art, an ad that would change the world, but instead it turned them into a global laughing stock.
This is also on a backdrop of huge backlash and increased legislation against sugary drinks. The days when all they had to worry about was competing against Coca-Cola are probably looked on with nostalgia by the marketing team. However Pepsi are a brand with true marketing pedigree, iconic campaigns, partnerships and experiences.
I’m really interested to see how they come back. The test of a great brand is how they react when they are at their lowest. I will be watching Pepsi closely in 2018 to see what they have planned.

My second one to watch for 2018, is the darling of the Aim, BooHoo. The online based fashion retailer has gone through exceptional growth over the last few years, along with some very smart acquisitions.

However they are now at the point where brand building is becoming as important as performance marketing. I expect an innovative business such as BooHoo to evolve its marketing activity to ensure it not only continues its business growth but becomes a brand leader in its own right.

This will be a year to watch brands take the design aspect of their branding in new and exciting directions.

Posted by Mark Walker on January 16, 2018

10 Ways To Understand and Shift Your Brand Perception in 2018

Think you know what your brand represents? I’ll let you in on a little secret; it’s not what you say in your slogan, brand values or advertisements. It’s whatever consumers say you are.

Posted by Bel Booker on January 09, 2018

5 Things That the Strongest Brands Focus on

Nothing lasts forever.

Posted by Mark Walker on January 08, 2018

5 New Year Resolutions to Help Your Brand in 2018

New Year resolutions don't just have to be for individuals. The idea of improving, quitting bad habits and enjoying a more productive, successful year can be just as valid for business and teams. 

Here are some resolutions you may want to consider for your brand to avoid the pitfalls others experienced in 2017.

Posted by Alex Rees on January 05, 2018