Pharmacy sign with techno cross design caption 'Pharmacy signs in France hitting different' (l) Pharmacy sign with techno animated dog caption 'French Pharmacy Signs Are Something Else' (c) Pharmacy sign with techno cross and pills caption 'Pharmacy signs in France hit different.' (r)

@thewollium/TikTok @baboumsx/TikTok @aliwhome/TikTok

‘Pharmacy signs in France hit different’: TikTokers have a new obsession—and they’re making techno mashups about it

Who knew that European drugstores went so hard?


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 24, 2022

Every country has its own subgenre of everyday tourist attractions—stuff that locals find utterly banal, but foreign visitors find weirdly fascinating. Right now on TikTok, people are obsessed with an extremely specific example: European pharmacy signage.

The green cross is an international symbol for medicine or pharmacies, but European pharmacy storefronts stand out because they’re typically lit by animated LEDs. They’re much more attention-grabbing than their overseas counterparts, inspiring a meme where people combine pharmacy sign footage with techno music. It caught on thanks to a viral TikTok captioned, “Pharmacy signs in France hit different.”

@thewollium Visited Cannes, saw the pharmacy signs, wanted to rave. #cannes2022 #fyp #europetravel ♬ Stay With Me – Amelie Lens
@aliwhome #pharmacy #france #rave ♬ Raver’s heart – Airod & Amelie Lens

“The graphic designer of euro pharmacy’s need a pay rise wtffff,” reads the caption to one TikTok with a stunning 1.2 million views. Since the Bowl of Hygieia is a well-known symbol of pharmacology, a lot of signs involve neon green animated snakes—which, in fairness, looks pretty wild if you’re not used to seeing it on every street.

“free healthcare electro mix bass boosted,” joked one commenter, while French TikTokers expressed surprise that other countries didn’t have the same kind of signs. While the meme seems to have originated in France, it’s since spread to other countries like Greece—and has also expanded from TikTok to Twitter, inspiring an account dedicated to pharmacy sign videos.

@petro_franco When pharmacy in Greece hit you different 😏#pharmacy #rave #greece #graphicdesign #lightshow #fyp #traveltiktok #techno #europe ♬ Originalton – Mike.mej
@ondriftwoods #pharmacy #flashwarning #twflash #epilepsywarning #pharmaciessaidfuckthemepileptics #rave ♬ Originalton – Mike.mej

If you’re wondering why these signs go so hard, there is indeed a practical explanation. They’re instantly recognizable from a distance, meaning people know exactly where to go to buy emergency medical supplies. So their popularity on TikTok kind of means they’re just doing their job.

Is there anything deeper going on with the pharmacy rave meme? Not really. These pharmacy signs just caught people’s attention because they look quirky and extreme to foreign visitors, and they do indeed make a great mash-up with techno music!

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*First Published: Aug 24, 2022, 10:40 am CDT