The adorable little bugger on the billboard above is quite famous. He’s known around the internet as “Success Kid” or “I Hate Sandcastles.” Starting in 2008, the original image was used in those funny graphics that get cycled around Facebook and Twitter and Reddit. I won’t get into the entire history and explanation. You can read the whole story about the meme at Know Your Meme. If you don’t get it, that’s okay. People that spend waaaaaaaaay more time on the internet get it.
In February, 2012, Virgin Media purchased the rights to use Success Kid in an advertising campaign. I don’t think the majority of the population recognized this picture, but for those who did, it just made Virgin a couple of levels cooler. Your target audience is not everyone. Make your ad speak to someone even if it’s esoteric. It will mean way more to the people who get it, as if that brand is in a secret little club with them. And for viewers who don’t get the meme, it’s still relatively effective at delivering the message.