Shibe meme jumps the corporate shark

Seamless has been reading your Tumblr, apparently.


Miles Klee

Internet Culture

Published Sep 4, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 7:21 am CDT

For more than a year now, the Internet has been producing image macros and GIFs—with varying levels of wit and success—featuring Comic Sans interior monologues from that noble vulpine dog breed: the Shiba Inu. The adorable, pointy-eared, golden canines, often styled as “Shibes” within the typo-plagued LOLcat-speak of the “confessions,” have conquered every social media sphere, from Tumblr and Reddit to BuzzFeed and back again.

Now it’s big business’s turn to get in on the meme, or co-opt it to embarrassing effect, depending on how you look at it. Food-delivery website Seamless, which caters to many large metropolitan areas in the U.S., recently sent out a promotional offer in which a Shiba dressed like Sherlock Holmes extols the value of a “mystery” code that could save you up to 25 percent.

“Wow disconz,” he says, adding, “so mystri.” The attached message reads: “Apply the code at checkout for your savings. Good luck, doge!” Which proves at least that some copywriters have done their research. Only a year behind on a popular running gag? Not bad for a national brand!

Not everyone was charmed, naturally. Leaving aside the question of whether Shiba Confessions are amusing in the first place, Seamless is often a respite where the weary, hungry, office-depressed cynic can order an angry lunch and forget about everything he or she saw on the Internet that morning. Maybe they should have had the Shiba in a chef’s hat?

.@Seamless I am never ordering anything from you again.

— Dick Wisdom (@nostrich) September 4, 2013

Seamless, for its part, took the criticism in stride and replied that the only way a good social media team ever would: with more memes. This time, at least, the joke was food-based.

Oh, you mad?

— Seamless (@Seamless) September 3, 2013

I guess without anyone copyrighting these ideas, we’re going to have to accept that companies will use them in ever-more desperate attempts to seem a part of the digital zeitgeist, “with-it” enough to get your dollars and clicks. But Seamless, of all brands, really needn’t bother. It’s not like I’m about to go out to eat.

Photo by Yuya Tamai/Flickr

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*First Published: Sep 4, 2013, 4:42 pm CDT