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:
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