Did a Merch Launch Ruin the “Rise and Shine” meme?

So far in the final quarter of 2019, social media influencer and forefront member of the  Kardashian clan, Kylie Jenner is responsible for one of the biggest memes of the season.

On October 10th, Kylie uploaded a video to her YouTube channel titled ‘Office Tour’, where she does just that. However, soon after an eight-second clip went viral on Twitter of Jenner singing the words ‘rise and shine’ to wake up her daughter, Stormi.

Since then the rise and shine meme exploded, with people editing Kylie’s face onto the Teletubbies sun, making remixes of the vocals into full-length songs; some people even dressed up as “Rise and Shine Kylie” for Halloween. It was meme-d to the fullest. 

Now when you search her name on Google, ‘rise and shine’ is the seventh suggestion, right underneath ‘lipstick’.

But then, the unspeakable happened: the Jenners reclaimed the meme.

It started with Kylie playing a song-version of the meme to her daughter and filming her response, which is kind of okay if not a bit meta. Then, $65 hoodies appeared on kyliejennershop.com with, you guessed it, ‘rise and shine’ written on it. The hoodie even includes a sun design with Kylie’s face in the centre.

So did Kylie Jenner kill her own meme? Apparently shortly after the clip went viral the celebrity filed a Trademark application for the phrase, which was definitely around way before she was born.

The star took it one step further this week when it was reported by some Australian media outlets that she had sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to a small Gold Coast business called Cased Clothing. 

The letter threatened legal action against the company unless they stopped selling a shirt with the phrase ‘rise and shine’ written on it due to a potential breach of trademark, despite the company selling the shirts months before the video was even released.

This sparked outrage on Twitter, users calling Kylie “greedy” and the trademark application a “dick move”. Other people pointed out she has tried this in the past when, before the launch of her cosmetics brand, the influencer tried to trademark the word Kylie; a motion which Australian singer Kylie Minogue fought against.

For something that started as an internet joke, as so often happens now, it has gone too far. It’s not unfair that Kylie Jenner should make money off a joke involving her, but when smaller innocent parties are threatened with legal action it becomes more of an issue.