Flying Dutchman inspires World Cup memes

dutchmanIt was a frightful World Cup night for Spain on Friday 13th as the Netherlands produced a stirring performance to record a 5-1 win. Robin van Persie scored two goals for the Dutch, with slo-mo television replays of his incredible diving header serving as dream footage for the internet’s content creators. “Persieing” became the latest viral craze to spread across social media.

Of the 1.7 million Van Persie mentions observed across social media this weekend, over 100k relate to his “flying” moment and include memes, Vines and Instagram uploads of creative examples playing on the image of the Dutchman’s superb headed goal.

ESPN’s effort at a meme amassed a huge 17k retweets to become the most retweeted tweet on the topic.

There have been plenty more creative efforts “flying” around Twitter, such as this designer who reworked the Twitter logo as well as a few Van Persie impromptu guest appearances in Flappy BirdsPeter Pan and even The Matrix.

And the fun hasn’t stopped there. Football fans have taken #Persieing (6.5k uses of the actual hashtag) to the next level by posting images of themselves diving to the ground online, with Instagram quick to embrace the light hearted action by encouraging its community to “find your inner Van Persie.”

#Persieing provides the latest high profile tournament example of internet users using humour to creatively tap into unique on-pitch moments – for example, back in 2012 Mario Balotelli’s shirt-off celebration at UEFA EURO 2012 created a viral storm in the process.

We are now in the midst of the first truly social World Cup and we’ve already seen unprecedented levels of conversation, excitement and creativity on social media platforms. We’re excited to see what emerges to rival Van Persie’s social hero status in coming weeks.

Andreas Plastiras, research and insight analyst (adidas) at We Are Social