CreativeFeaturedSocial MediaTwitter

The boat that launched a thousand memes, by Quill Communications’ Sarah Mohamed

By Sarah Mohamed, director of operations & strategy, Quill Communications.

Sarah Mohamed

It’s the most expensive global chuckle we’ve ever shared. It’s the container ship that, according to istheshipstillstuck.com (probably), cost “us” $59 billion. It’s a disaster-movie-worthy plotline that’s begging for a ‘Netflix Original’ – blocking 12 per cent of the world’s seaborne trade during the worst pandemic of a generation? #whatatimetobealive

Has the Suez Canal stuck-boat-saga birthed the best memes the social web has Ever Given us? Probably.

The photo of the tiny digger on the bank of the canal, nudging the mammoth cargo ship like an enthusiastic puppy angling for its (gigantic) owner’s attention, delivered the most relatable metaphor of the year. We all saw our endless task lists and unfathomable stress levels in the little excavator that couldn’t, and just like that, the internet made a guy with a digger famous.

After every tug boat in Egypt worked their rudders off to release the Taiwanese-owned container ship, we’d like to celebrate the return of maritime trade with a round-up of all the shipshape memes we witnessed over the past week.

Want to know more about how brands and consumers will be spending their money and time this Ramadan? Join our Ramadan webinar on 7 April.


Immovable ship or unforgettable outfit? A stylish nod to one of our other favourite social media pastimes; trying to get that look:

Bad day at work? We’ve all had those. But have you ever brought an entire industry to its knees on your shift? We were grateful for reminders like this:

And this:

The biggest news stories tend to result in the most viral memes and most ambitious jump ramps. We’re not sure we trust the engineering of this solution, but it’s a 10 for creativity.

All the biggest names in engineering were in on the action, including our favourite starry-eyed entrepreneur. This incredibly realistic mock-up of a fleet of Starship rockets taking the Ever Given out of the Suez Canal and shipping it off to Mars is the kind of meme we can believe in.

Perfect memes are born when universally recognised ideas, cultural cues, and society at large translate into grumpy cats, glass-raising Leonardo Di Caprio’s, and now a large ship, staring down a tiny digger; the quintessential expression of our shared Covid anxiety.

We’ve all been the last person working on a pitch deck at midnight, and in some ways, we are all the guy in the digger. For all the work-related memes, we thank you.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a proper send-off without an enthusiastic crew of Egyptian dredger operators having a good old celebratory sing-song on the shores of the Suez.