The world’s only dedicated collection of funny branded social media posts, history’s funniest TV Commercials, hilarious Facebook Ads, side-splitting YouTube Adverts and delicious witty Print Advertising – all gathered together in one database.

Awesome on Social Media: SparkNotes

sparknotes twitter header
Share This
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Top up your coffee and take a pew. It’s time to take a look at a brand that’s indisputably…


SparkNotes Twitter image showing their social media marketing image and followers.

UK readers may not be familiar, but SparkNotes is a big deal in the United States of Academia. They produce award winning study guides for Shakespeare texts and other classic works of literature — if you were the kind of high school student who thought ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was a ‘How To…’ manual, then you would’ve done well to pick up a SparkNotes guide or two.

Sounds interesting, but hardly hilarious, right? Their Twitter header looks exactly how you’d expect — i.e. even looking at it feels like homework— except they have 260.9k followers. How in Hades did that happen? Well, it’s because pretty much every tweet they put out goes viral.

The SparkNotes social media team has cultivated a distinctive comedy style on Twitter — clashing contemporary language and popular Twitter joke formats with knowing references to classic literature. Their posts are highly shareable because they’re funny, but also because there’s a degree of intellectual pride around being ‘in on it’.

Here are our recent favourites from the Sparknotes Twitter account:

1.This, on Valentine’s Day. Get the reference, old sport? If not, just know that 36.8K people did. *Cue predictable and over-used GIF of DiCaprio raising glass…* It’s The Great Gatsby, okay! Keep up.

2. As we know, visual content is king on all social media platforms, even Twitter. Here, SparkNotes went the extra mile by editing an image to combine their area of expertise with a pop culture reference. The choice of meme is key — The Simpsons is a cultural touchstone that instantly connotes comedy.

3. This one betrays just how much time the SparkNotes social media team spends on Twitter. They’ve perfectly hijacked the ‘folder/sub-folder’ text and emoji based joke format that was doing the rounds, and brought it back to their specialist subject. Think it’s weird and niche? 41.3k people disagree. Maybe they should produce a study guide for social media managers to swot up on Twitter memes…

4. Proof that branded comedy can be niche AND topical! This one was posted during the Covid-19 lockdown (when we all got extremely familiar with Zoom video-conferencing and ran out of believable excuses to end phone calls because, frankly, we had nowhere else to be). In times of hardship such as these, SparkNotes recommends turning to the bard.

5.  This post co-opts a popular Twitter joke format (post a selection of images that could be considered spoilers for a TV show or movie, but actually only make sense if you’ve already seen it). It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it’s super-satisfying if you’re ‘in on it’. Even better — it’s immediately eye catching if you’re a fan of Pokemon, The Good Place, The Wizard of Oz or Crash Bandicoot.

6. Here, the SparkNotes social media team did what they do best — they juxtaposed a common element of modern life with the equivalent from classical literature. There’s a lot of comedy to be found in contrasts and comparisons (not to mention list-based jokes, a mainstay of American Late Night TV). We wonder whether there was room for some wordplay around ‘Lyft’ and ‘Styx’, but honestly, we love this joke just the way it is.

7. Simple yet effective. Another pop culture meme deployed to great effect here, —and we’ll give SparkNotes extra points for referencing two literary greats in the same joke.

8. Sticking with the Lord of the Rings theme, this artful Ariana Grande Retweet shows the SparkNotes social media team aren’t afraid to post reactive content. If you can find an on-brand way to interact with celebrities that your ideal customer likes, you send a very clear signal to those customers — a message along the lines of, “Hey, we’re funny AND cool!” This message is especially important if you sell study guides…

(Incidentally, using that line without changing the wording will have the opposite effect).

Practising funny reactive posting can also help brands master the delicate art of using comedy in social media customer service.

9. An edited Parks and Recreation meme? Take my money, SparkNotes. Over 27 thousand Twitter users enjoyed this as much as we did, so what’s the lesson? If you can put your own spin on existing funny content with a massive fan base, you’re on to a winner (also calzone > pizza).

10. ‘Comparison lists’ is the Twitter joke format that just keeps on giving. See how this take on Job Hunting is a variation on the Lyft vs Ferryman of the Dead format? The thing is, as long as you keep changing the specifics, it never gets old!

Bonus points to SparkNotes for nailing the comedy ‘rule of three’ here by including three items on each list, and going the extra mile to make the final item the funniest.

Right, that’s our Top 10 (for now)! Just like your high school chemistry teacher who insisted on testing his stand up material on the class, we hope you’ve had a laugh and learned something along the way. If you want to continue the masterclass in funny social media marketing, be sure to follow the @SparkNotes Twitter account.

Comedy comrades at SparkNotes — we salute you! You are far and away one of the funniest brands on social media!

Came here for a review of a brand new Funny Ad? Click there. No, not here. There. Where we’ve underlined ‘Funny Ads’ for you. Got it? Cool.