Decision 17: The people behind the election's top memes

Memes might just be the future of advertising, if political parties want to engage millennials and other young voters.

For the non-millennial, an Internet meme is a funny image shared with friends, where people add their own spin to the original image or joke. A 'dank meme' is a meme considered especially good or clever.

They go viral across the Internet and in New Zealand, they have managed to gain an impressive audience with solely political jokes.

One popular page - 'Backing The Kiwi Meme' - reaches more than half a million New Zealanders some weeks, an admin told Newshub.

"We're blown away by the success of the page," said the admin, who asked to remain anonymous. "Clearly young people want to talk about politics and have political opinions.

"Youth turnout and enrolment is abysmal. Parties haven't figured out how to make politics relevant and interesting and accessible for young people yet."

Another page that sprung up when 'Backing' grew popular was 'NZ swing voters against dogmatic party affiliated memes'.

For those admins, their memes are a bit broader and don't target a specific group at all.

"I think, often, the problem with politics is it's seen to be inaccessible, politicians talk about stuff that young people have no interest in or simply don't understand," an admin told Newshub.

"I think that memes open the door in a way."

Across the major meme pages, no one is safe. All politicians and all parties are targeted at some point - and even the polls.

Some politicians have also tried to get in on the action. Last month, a NZ First page accidentally shared a meme based on the 'Fake Taxi' porn series, while National's Bill English commented on a meme posted by 'Swing Voters'.

But are memes enough to drive young voters to the polls?

Admins for both 'Backing' and 'Swing Voters' are millennials - they've all voted early.

"I certainly think we'll be seeing lots of memes in the next election," the 'Swing Voters' admin said.

"We think that memes will always be less successful from political parties, especially with the common perception of them being a bunch of old white people. A lot of responses to mainstream political parties' memes seem to be along the lines of 'they are trying and failing to act cool'."

'Backing' is not sure whether memes are enough to get people voting, but hopes their page is doing a "tiny bit".

"Whether we're just motivating the diehards or communicating with people who would normally ignore politics," the admin said.

Whether they are actually driving voters to the polls or just helping youths pay more attention to the issues, there's no denying the memes certainly have their audience.