The Harlem Shake and the corporate interests that fueled it


When the Harlem Shake exploded into a cultural phenomenon earlier this year, many saw it as yet another meme that spontaneously, and organically caught fire. But in a recent piece for Quartz, Kevin Ashton argues that the nonsensical dance trend was spurred not by amateurs, but by explicit corporate interests. By meticulously tracing its evolution, Ashton draws a direct connection between the Super Bowl blackout — which taught companies the value of reactive, real-time marketing — and the Harlem Shake’s asymptotic rise. This pattern is certainly unique, but, as Ashton posits, who actually profits from it?

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