The Origins of the Demotivator Meme

Today I found out the origins of the demotivator meme.  The meme, as we know it today, has its origins in a company called Despair, Inc.  Before them though was a company called Successories.  This company was started by Mac Anderson in 1985.  Among their products were motivational posters with the now classic black background and text underneath a picture.

Around 1998 along came Despair Inc, who started making spoofs of these motivational posters.  In the beginning, these tended to be near exactly the same as the motivational counterparts which tended to feature some artsy photograph and be “office friendly”.  The original demotivators then used similar artsy photos, but would just change the text to be something depressing instead of uplifting.

The demotivators from Despair Inc were eventually popularized by none other than the meme generating machine that is 4chan.  From here, people started making their own demotivators, now including often racy content and twisted humor.  And the rest is history.

Just for fun, here’s a bunch of funny demotivators:

Angry Cookie Demotivator

why so serious demotivator

Girl Scouts Demotivator

Luging Demotivator

Rollin Demotivator

yoda demotivator

Conspiracy Theories Demotivator

Accomplishment Demotivator

Fashion Demotivator

Human Shield Demotivator

4chan demotivator

Simpsons Demotivator

The Party Demotivator

exercise demotivator


madness demotivator

mcdonalds demotivator

logical fallacy demotivator

duty calls demotivator

Hope Demotivator

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  • Anon

    Shhh!!! Don’t you know the first two rules of the internet>!>!>!???!?

    1. You do not talk about /b
    2. You DO NOT talk about /b

    People must find 4chan on their own. It’s like the Holy Grail. Only the worthy can find it and only after questing can they prove themselves worthy of the ….knowledge??…. that is 4chan.

  • Partyvan

    /b/ is not 4chan

  • Nona

    About the Luge one.

    The guy died.

    That’s kinda retarded to put it as funny.

  • anon

    that makes it more funny.

    and rule 1&2 are for raids you faggot.

  • Mike

    Yo dawgs I used to work out at that 24 hr fitness. It is in San Diego, CA and I rode the escalators every time!

  • Alex_C

    People who frequent 4chan are not worthy of aught but a revelation of their inadequacies.

  • Brian

    Ya because finding 4chan is hard…

    *googles 4chan*

    Oh hey… first search result…

  • Anon

    About the Luge one.

    Welcome to the internetz.

    You’re kind of retarded.

    Have a nice day.

  • marty

    as if you tried to make a joke about the luge accident, you are a sick fucking loser eat shit

  • Anonymous

    People die all the time. He just happened to do it spectacularly, in an international sporting competition, on international TV, because he was terrible at an exceedingly dangerous sport.

    I think it’s damn funny, fuck your attempted buzzkill.

  • Pissall

    @ Nona: Death is ALWAYS funny.

  • Anonymous

    The first Anon that posted is retarded.

    As for you, Nona, you must be new to the internet.

  • Nona

    Disregard that, i suck cocks.

  • Denise

    Very tasteless about the Georgian Luger that died. I’d suggest removing it!!!

    • Kind of the point of a “de-motivator”. It’s in the name. 😉

  • Matt

    Everyone in these pictures will die, therefore none of these are funny and you should stop.

  • Anonymousse

    So did the Jews.

  • Jay

    Hahaha you’ve obviously never been to 4chan Nona

  • anonymous

    Hi there Nona! you must be new here.

  • Yeah, it’s too bad about the luger.

  • I found the luge one tasteless as well.

  • Stakhanov

    I loved the Lumberjack warrior one 😛 I know a few guys in Pioneer regiments in Canada!

  • Arup

    “People must find 4chan on their own. It’s like the Holy Grail.” Someone does not understand the difference between holy grail and a bunch of angry 14 year olds.

  • Phil E. Drifter

    That girl at teh bottom is sofa king hot, i’ve seen that pic for years but damn someone is lucky that she’s into fantasy role playing (bow chicka!)

  • anonymous

    The luge one gets me every time.

  • Billy

    Isn’t it crazy how all these people claiming that the luge one was in ‘bad taste’ failed to comment on the one about Hitler and how he murdered millions of people, or is that just not a hot enough topic anymore? Come on, people. It’s just a joke. Grow up and find an actual meaningful cause to be ‘all about’.

  • feman0n

    Har har, y’all are fucktards. You wouldn’t have known about the luge guy’s death if you weren’t so fucking nit picky. It’s a joke. You’re a joke. I’m a joke. And the rest of you are anal cacti fuckers.

  • Sarah Failin

    Hey Bill. Maybe it’s because the conservatives (like Glenn “schizophrenic” Beck) try to connect everything that anyone does to Hitler and communism. They have diluted the meaning of it. There’s your answer.

  • dicksinasses


  • Jou Baur

    About the Luger, (did I say that right?)
    Does anybody know if he qualified for a Darwin Award? I mean, doing something like that certainly ought to qualify a person, wouldn’t you say?

    Yeah, to some people, it’s in bad taste. To others, not so much. For example, I’ve got an uncle, (or should I say had an uncle,)who died in an avalanch.

    Uuh, that’s an avalanch in a bean factory. Seems a mountain of beans slid down on him. They say he might have lived if not for his breathing gear. It may have filtered out just too much under all those beans.

    I wouldn’t mind if my death was pretty memorable, although, hopefully not too painful and long.

  • Anon

    Sorry to use such /b/ vocabulary while ranting against it, but all you sad pathetic fuckers talking about TEH RULEZ 1 & 2!!!

    Get a fucking life

  • Anonymous

    Nona is Anon backwards.
    You all fail.

  • You all fail. Learn to laugh at a joke and move on.

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  • LOL_At_”Nona

    Nona was really good at that troll post. It took SOOOO long for someone to finally call that out!

    Had “Nona” really been upset, there would have been more caps lock going on.

    Well played.