Thursday, January 10, 2013

GIF Crazy: The Peculiar Resurrection of an Internet Relic | MARKETING / DIGITAL TRENDS


The word 'GIF' conjures up memories of distracting, seizure-inducing, blinged out MySpace templates and flashbacks to Web 1.0. Historically, the use of looping low-res GIF art on the web was an eyesore at best, and the clearest mark of poor website design. But over the last few years, these graphic vermin have found new footing, and have been embraced by artists, bloggers and brands alike for their compatibility, simplicity and ability to relay a clear and concise message. While the GIF technically remains just as simple in structure as it did 25 years ago, its potential has grown dramatically alongside viral marketing, social media, and the birth of the 'meme'.




Oxford American Names 'GIF' Word of the Year


The GIF trend garnered some new bragging rights in 2012. Oxford American dictionary named GIF the Word of the Year, citing it's growing popularity, and evolving usage.


Highlights of the year in GIFing (via blog.oxforddictionaries.com)

"GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun. The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace."


Uniqlo launches Holiday 'GIF Box' sweepstakes



Supercool Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo gave away GIFs as gifts to people who entered their email addresses. The series of coveted GIFs were masterfully created (kittens and all) by commissioned artists, chosen as experts in the GIF world. Each prized GIF came with a $5 gift certificate, or more, depending on how lucky you were. (Agency: Razorfish)




Cinemax Premiere's New Show, 'Banshee' Online in GIF



To promote the new series, 'Banshee', Cinemax released the entire first episode of the show prior to the premiere, online, in animated (silent) GIF format. (see http://www.buzzfeed.com/banshee/a-new-beginning-8bqh)

They also embraced the lo-fi graphic medium with the creation of the 'Banshee GIF Shop', a Tumblr dedicated to sharing animated GIFs from the show, tagged with LOLs , WTFs and humorous captions to bring the short animated clips to life. (Agency: Campfire)

To promote the new series, 'Banshee', Cinemax recently embraced the lo-fi graphic medium with the creation of the 'Banshee GIF Shop', a Tumblr dedicated to sharing animated GIFs from the show, tagged with LOLs , WTFs and humorous captions to bring the short animated clips to life. Additionally, the entire first episode was released prior to the premiere, online, in animated (silent) GIF format. (see http://www.buzzfeed.com/banshee/a-new-beginning-8bqh) (Agency: Campfire)



Corona Extra: It's on me. No it's on me. (Agency: JWT Spain)



The newest trend in the animated GIF realm is the cinemagraph, defined as 'still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs' (Wikipedia). JWT Spain embraced the new lo-fi concept to promote World Kindness Day on behalf of Corona Extra. The results are simple, cute and effective. coronaextra.eu/worldkindnessday

"It's on me / No, It's on me"
"After you / No, after you"
"You can have it / No, you can have it"

"World Kindness Day is a day that few of us have marked on our calendars, but Corona Extra Europe through JWT Spain has undertaken the responsibility of reminding everyone with a very entertaining website that features Cinemagraphs. So we have created the longest film in history: "It's on me. No, it's on me"."



There's an App for That



The list is long of iOS apps like GifBoom and 5Seconds, which convert short clips of video into animated GIFS. Interestingly, now that many phones are capable of recording solid quality 1080HD video, users are down converting their footage into low-resolution snippets.



…AND There's a Meme for That



Internet meme culture is defining new territory in the humor department, and animated GIFs play into the viral trend seamlessly. Additionally, hundreds of sites (many Tumblr-based) are dedicated solely to humorous recapping of current events and pop culture by way of animated GIF (i.e. Olympics, awards ceremonies, election). Many include comedic sidelines and captions - great for a quick chuckle.




Check out a few of the links below to get a taste of what's out there. And the sea is vast.
Qualcomm's Crazy CES 2013 Keynote In Animated GIFs
Gif Recap: Redskins Playoff Loss to the Seahawks via Stephen Colbert Animated Gifs
GIF Recap of Lindsay Lohan in 'Liz & Dick'
GIF Humor



Additional Resources


Genius Marketing: Artsy Animated GIFs Show Beer-Making Process (Co.Design)
What the Rise of Animated GIFs Means for Content
The Ultimate Guide to Using Animated GIFs in Your Marketing

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