Every movement begins with a moment.
Don’t have a word for that feeling you get when you run out of toilet paper while on the toilet — at work? Or for when you find five dollars wedged between your couch cushions? Well, you don’t have to — thanks to the expressive capabilities of GIFs.
While people still argue about the pronunciation (either with soft or a hard g), everyone agrees that GIFs speak louder than words. Over the last decade, the GIF has transformed from an innocent file format to a versatile advertising weapon. And because it lives in the space between still and short video, it’s the perfect candidate for a snapshot culture that can’t stay anywhere for long.
Initially made popular by meme culture sites like Reddit, 4Chan and 9Gag, the GIF has transcended pop culture references and broken into mainstream advertising. More recently, it’s been the dark horse in media campaigns from Subway to Dell with great success. In fact, Dell increased revenue by 109% with a GIF campaign for its XPS 12.
Agencies are starting to see the potential as well. San Francisco’s Heat spawned the Madden Giferator, a campaign that used game footage to make real-time GIFs targeted to users based on their favorite teams. Heat blew the idea out even further by allowing users to make their own smack-talking GIFs of opposing teams, which they could then share with friends. Not only was the campaign a massive success, it earned eight Lions at the 2015 Cannes Lions Festival. Suffice it to say, the GIF is becoming a valuable part of integrated advertising campaigns. And it is likely here to stay. It is officially the GIF —with a hard G.
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