Why GIFs Became the Sweetheart of the Internet

 

Is it too early to crown the GIF the internet star of 2013? Though the format has been in use since the early days of websites, there has been a proliferation of GIF use among young consumers of late that has pushed the once lowly image file into the spotlight. What is it about the GIF format that has captured the hearts of hoards of Tumblr users, internet commenters, and viral bloggers?

For readers who aren’t familiar with the GIF, they are short, endlessly-looped video files that appear to play a few seconds of action on eternal replay. The New Republic wrote an extensive history of the medium and its rise from 90s junk animation to art form. Today, GIFs have become an integral part of the way internet users (often led by Gen Y) talk to one another. They appear as reactions to blog articles, are created and shared by fan communities on Tumblr and elsewhere to celebrate moments in TV and movies, are emailed as exclamations and emotional outbursts. In short, they have become the second language of the internet.

So why GIFs, and why now? Millennials, always a very image-reliant generation, have continued to gravitate towards visual communication. With the strengthening popularity of Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and Snapchat, we could almost see them reaching a tipping point where visuals actually usurp text communication in common use. When you are a group who communicates by majority in visuals, those visuals have to evolve in order to fully capture the emotion you are trying to convey. (We saw a similar evolution in the simple emoticon, which began as a finite combination of punctuations and have become a legion of animated faces and objects stored on your phone for easy access and hieroglyphic-esque messaging.) Layer on top of this the fact that Millennials have also…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without buying something and watching holiday movies.” –Female, 29, CA 

Yesterday news that Budweiser would be dropping their traditional Clydesdales in order to appeal to Millennials made the rounds—but the brand says not so fast. In response to the rumors, Budweiser has released their “drink responsibly” ad featuring the iconic horses “earlier than planned” and tweeted that they “aren’t going anywhere.” But they are giving the campaign a twist that could appeal to young consumers, partnering with LYFT to give holiday partiers safe rides home in Boston with the help of the Clydesdales. (Brand Channel)

The appeal of toy unboxing videos may be a mystery to some, but they’re viewed millions and millions of times on YouTube, and Disney wants a piece of that popularity. In case you’ve missed it, these videos consist of opening up toys and talking about what’s in them. The brand’s Maker Studios has signed five toy unboxing digital stars, including HobbyKidsTV, DisneyCarToys, and ToyReviewToys. However, the most popular unboxing channel, DC Toys Collector, who generated 104 million views last week, was not included. (Recode)

Totino’s is continuing their weird, weird marketing campaign to appeal to young consumers’ absurdist humor. In a follow up to “the oddest pizza ad ever,” the brand has taken a BuzzFeed post called "50 Completely Unexplainable Stock Photos No One Will Ever Use" and turned each one into an off-the-wall bizarre ad. They’ve posted the entire collection on their site with the explanation, “We obviously had no choice but to use them. Poorly.” (Adweek)

What influences teen drinking behavior? Recent research has found that ”close friends” are far more influential than the “broader peer group” when it comes to teen alcohol use. This means the idea of  “everyone thinking that everyone else (in a whole school, say) is drinking a lot” being a reason behind drinking might not hold as much water. (NYMag)

The next-generation is growing up hyper-monitored from the cradle, but it’s possible that the high tech baby monitors that have become more and more common don’t actually offer benefits. Onesies and other items that track babies heartbeats and body metrics might be offering parents “false reassurance,” as they haven’t been proven to work. However, makers of those products say that new parents are buying them not to combat specific health issues but for peace of mind. (Mashable)

The Ypulse Back-To-School Special Report is here! The holidays might be starting, but we know retailers, marketers and brand managers are already planning for next year's big shopping seasons. To deliver a forward looking perspective, we surveyed high school and college students throughout 2014, combed that data for insights, and compiled all of the must-know data into a rich BTS special report. Gold subscribers can access the full report and data in the My Documents section of Ypulse.com. One-off pricing for this report is $1,250, contact us here. (Ypulse)

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