If you’re on Instagram, or are even aware of Instagram, you are probably familiar with FuckJerry, a massively popular account that has become a headquarters for memes. FuckJerry, run by Elliot Telebe, is certainly formidable, surviving a large internet backlash against accounts like his that simply repost other people’s jokes without attribution. The Fat Jew couldn’t escape the reality of plagiarism and the realization that he’s um, not funny, but Telebe has made it through. And now, FuckJerry’s going “legit,” turning his account into Jerry Media, a marketing and social media agency.
With 11.9 million followers, it’s obviously no surprise that people want a slice of FuckJerry. Brands like Go Daddy and Wendy’s have tried the meme route in their commercials only to end up looking like the desperate tryhards that they are, so why not go for a more *grassroots* approach?
As Digiday reports, Jerry Media (which, it is chillingly claimed, also wants to go “down the BuzzFeed route” and is currently working on a news arm) boasts a 20-person staff that “manages social media accounts, runs influencer programs and does media-buying for other brands.” I don’t know what any of that means, but I do know they’re making bank. They work with companies like Burger King, Jack in the Box, and Bumble, which seems to mean that the Instagram accounts of these companies will now have more stolen memes because, again, Jerry Media loves memes! I mean, look at this quote from Mick Purzycki, CEO of Jerry Media:
“Memes are not only vehicles for comedy, but vehicles for having a differentiated voice,” said Purzycki. “It’s a unique format that demands attention from viewers, but is also highly adaptable to each specific brand.”
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Right, right. This could be a brilliant troll. It could just be capitalist pigs earnestly cashing in on work that isn’t theirs. Either way, it makes me want to barf.
We all know the memes we love are stolen and that the enjoyment we get is the direct result of the exploitation of actual creative and funny people who, even if they’re cited, don’t receive the recognition for their stuff. It’s of course particularly troublesome given that so much of our internet culture is created by young black people who don’t financially benefit from their contributions the way white people do. FuckJerry, a one-stop meme shop, stands at the top of this ethically dubious hill. It’s the Walmart of memes.
Interestingly, the Digiday article seemed to leave out one of FuckJerry’s most recent clients: FyreFest, the masterpiece of a failed music festival, and the source of the single biggest expression of schadenfreude by the collective unconscious in a long time.
In the festival’s truly ridiculous pitch deck, FuckJerry is listed as a member of FyreFest’s Fyre Squad (literally death by Fyre Squad), responsible for social media. Of course, FuckJerry had nothing to do with the actual construction of the event itself, but it’s not a great look to be associated and potentially partially responsible for an embarrassing fiasco that essentially pulled an Emperor’s New Clothes on Instagram influencers. It is a partnership that makes sense, however, with two things that run on pure hype and little originality joining forces.
Tebele made a cheeky nod to #FyreFest on his Twitter earlier this week, but as of today, his Instagram account and several others operated by Jerry Media do not appear to have posted any of the brilliant #FyreFest memes thus far. Seems like a missed opportunity.