Unless you’ve been in cryogenic sleep all your life until this moment or vehemently avoided any kind of social media, you’ll know who the Kardashians are. They’re a family that grew to either be the darlings of media or the tired stereotypes representing the privileged elite of California, depending on who you ask.
Just recently, Kylie Jenner exercised her belonging to the family name, starting a widespread hashtag that spread through TikTok the fastest way possible, hitting a billion views as well. It’s all fun and games, of course, until Kylie, in true Kardashian fashion, eventually latched onto the simple phrase and saw potential from it.
So what exactly did Kylie do with the meme’s popularity? Why, turn it into more money.
The Kardashians have become their own luxury brand. Over the years, regardless of what you think of them, real people can be reached by this show; actual, real life people who find a certain kind of connection to the family.
In this case, connection might have been working hand-in-hand with popularity, because just as soon as Kylie tasked her team to turn this essentially throw-away meme onto a shirt, people started clamoring for a piece. How much is it? $65.
That didn’t stop her loyal followers, however, and just a few hours from when she dropped it online, it was already sold out, reported movie, TV, and entertainment news website, Vulture.
What does this tell us? Kate Talbot of business magazine Forbes said the answer to the merch’s amazing performance was because Kylie had perfected the ability to stay relevant to her fanbase no matter what, combining fast fashion and digital tactics.
Talbot writes: “Combining fast fashion and digital tactics, brands can leverage online communities to garner incredible sales. Produce creative and timely posts that highlight a product that is within a reasonable price range for social media followers to easily purchase online.”
The rest of Kylie’s marketing team also knows how to use these trends to their advantage because they apparently also used the term through their email-delivered marketing content because of its strong recall.
Because of the popularity of the soundbite, many on social media have inadvertently promoted the “Rise and Shine” meme in their own ways. It would be considered just a funny thing to do, like when people started using Bretman Rock’s expletive-laden wake-up call and turned it into a ringtone, except the situation is a little different from Kylie who decided to monetize it as soon as she found potential.
A user on Twitter even got 8 million views for posting a custom ringtone she made of the “Rise and Shine” meme, cutting it from the original long-form video and then looping it so that Kylie can be heard saying “Rise and Shine” on repeat.
Thanks to her marketing team’s understanding of the collective pulse of many young people today, especially the Gen Z who go on the internet more frequently than any other demographic, Kylie was able to muscle this strange trend and use it to her advantage.
To fully make use of all the benefits of the word, Kylie has trademarked it, too, which doesn’t really mean you can’t say it to a loved one when you wake them up in the morning in the privacy of your own home, but it will mean that the meme is likely not going away so soon.
Such strategies are not alien for YouTubers and influencers who build their brand around how they interact with their community, and what Kylie is doing is not necessarily new for the Kardashian clan either.
In 2015, as reported by The Verge, Kim Kardashian released the Kimoji, an emoji set that included many embarrassing and unflattering snapshots of some of her and her sister’s faces on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
Where’s the monetization going to go now that Kylie is in the process of finalizing the trademark? Well, it’s going to “belts, pants, coats, dresses, footwear, gloves, headbands, headwear, jackets, loungewear, scarves, sleepwear, socks, swimwear, and undergarments.” Like the initial Rise and Shine merch, it’s also not impossible that these other products will probably do just as well as its predecessor.
On the matter of trademarks, the Kardashian-Jenner clan seems to have quite a lot between all of them. It’s a business survival tactic that’s developed like second-nature for the family in a world that always wants a piece of them. We can all agree that not everyone likes them, but those who do seem to do so with such fervent devotion.
A solid business model is needed to support and cultivate that kind of attention from pretty much every onlooker, something that the clan has managed by utilizing the use of trademarks to everything they might potentially want to sell.
Reported by Forbes, this is to make sure that they can “protect their personal brands and try to freeze out anyone who might want to capitalize on their names--including their children’s.”
At the end of all this, it is still anyone’s guess whether Kylie will continue a merch line with these same words, but the success of it all so far seems to indicate that it wouldn’t hurt revisiting one of the fastest memes on the even-faster internet.