‘That’s How Mafia Works’ Meme: A Viral Fad Born of Horrible Instagram Ads
That’s how the mafia operates.” That sentence has become one of the most popular memes of early 2019, appearing in YouTube comments, tweets, and Instagram captions all over the internet.
This mafia remark has dominated the 2019 meme landscape alongside Big Chungus, a chunky screenshot of Bugs Bunny.
What is the meaning of “That’s How Mafia Works”?
It’s more Sim City than Grand Theft Auto V. Because the game is simple and not aesthetically appealing, the marketing and public relations departments had to get creative.
Ads for Mafia City on Instagram and Snapchat normally follow a similar formula: a low-level avatar does something insane, gaining a lot of money, cars, and guns, and eventually becoming a high-level mob boss.
The absurdity of the adverts varies. With a frying pan, a “level 20” character beats the heads of “level one” players sitting on their knees.
Another depicts a cat sporting Elton John glasses and a gold chain chilling on a mound of cash. The commercials are designed to represent the level of power a person can experience while playing the game, but they end up making little sense.
A goateed man in a suit with a comb over signals at the screen with a global balloon stating “that’s how mafia works” at the start of these clips.
The commercials are ludicrous, and they’ve become a target for many online commentators seeking for a quick laugh.
YouTuber Slazo was one of the first to discover the bizarre commercials, and his video has received half a million views in less than two weeks.
“It may not be how reality works, but that’s how the mafia operates,” Slazo explained.
From then, the meme began to spread. Parodies of the ad began to appear, with pets, YouTubers, and Rick and Morty compilations replacing the mafia bosses.
Pewdiepie brought the meme to his army of nine-year-olds by performing the catchphrase in front of a green screen, allowing his admirers to place him wherever they like.
Memes have a difficult-to-predict life cycle. Ugandan Knuckles gained popularity in early 2018, but faded from public consciousness within a few weeks.
Bowsette, the fan fiction version of Bowser with a gender-swapped crown, is still trending on Twitter months after the original comic was published.
“That’s how the mafia works,” as a joke, but it’s also a look at how games market themselves in 2019.
Mafia City is a mindless clicker with building mechanics, but there is no frying pan murder or torture in it. If the game’s gameplay was genuinely advertised in these five-second commercials, it would not attract nearly as many players.
Big Chungus and Mafia City win the meme awards in January 2019.
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