Inexplicable #BackpackChallenge Tops The Viral List

The latest #Challenge sweeping high schools and Twitter, the kitchen gadget that’s gone viral, a meme all about trying to stay non-political, and more stories and trends earning buzz this week!

1. Yes, the #BackpackChallenge Is a Thing

The Backpack Challenge is sweeping high schools across the nation. To participate, teens line up and throw heavy backpacks at a peer, who needs to run through the launched bags without getting knocked down. The challenge originally began trending in November, but has resurfaced with a vengeance. The #BackpackChallenge hashtag on Twitter surfaces a feed of kids lining up to toss backpacks at one brave challenger. Seem bizarre/confusing? We don’t disagree. But don’t spend too much time trying to figure it out—as with most teen social media challenges (think The Cinnamon Challenge, etc.) there’s little “why” behind this “what.” As one teen told BuzzFeed, “It’s just for fun. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.”

2. The Viral Kitchen Gadget

Can cooking tools go viral? The success of the Instant Pot shows us they can. The Instant Pot has become a massive success thanks to viral word of mouth on social media, becoming Amazon’s best-selling item in the U.S. Business Insider calls it “the Internet’s favorite kitchen appliance,” citing the thousands upon thousands of glowing reviews the product has received and the passionate communities of Instant Pot users trading tips and recipes on Reddit, Facebook and beyond. The CEO of the company behind the 7-in-1 gadget says of their viral success, "Cooking is very much a social behavior. If people make good food, they will be raving about it, including the tools used.”

3. Can You Say Anything Non-Political?

In the contentious political climate we’re experiencing now, everything can be political—from Super Bowl…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“My work schedule can be hectic, so I snack on nuts, berries, or other non-deadly foods during any downtime.”

—Male, 32, KY

AwesomenessTV and fashion/beauty brands are coming together to make branded series for Gen Z. In the past, AwesomenessTV has worked with numerous brands to produce original content, including CoverGirl and Kohl’s. Now they’re planning a 24-part docu-series with Hollister called “This is Summer,” following teens’ high school journeys—while they’re clad in shoppable Hollister clothing of course. Our own Chief Content Officer explains that Ypulse has “found Gen Z to be fairly open to watching sponsored entertainment,” with 77% of 13-17-year-olds agreeing, "As long as the story is interesting, I don't mind that it is sponsored." (Glossy)

Fullscreen agrees that Gen Z is the generation that’s most receptive to branded content. Their survey found over half of Gen Z doesn’t mind even undisclosed branded content, and significantly more Gen Z teens than Millennials have engaged with social branded content (viewing photos, liking and sharing content and tagging friends) in the past six months. Influencer marketing wins out with the group, with over half of teens preferring influencer content to pre-roll, sponsored posts, banners, and traditional TV commercials. The sweet spot for advertisers may be branded video, especially when influencers are involved. (TubefilterAdweek)

Graduation spending is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion for the Class of 2017. Over half of the graduation gifts given will be cash, followed by greeting cards, gift cards, apparel, and electronic devices. Another trend for the year is more and more peers giving each other gifts, with a 6% lift year over year. Younger consumers will spend an average of $78.42 ,compared to 45-54-year-olds’ $119.84 and 65-and-over’s $112.34, and while greeting cards are also most popular, they’re also almost twice as likely to gift clothing. (ConsumerAffairs)

Instagram has the “most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing,” followed by Snapchat, according to a recent study. The image-centric platforms could “driv[e] feelings of inadequacy and anxiety,” and were rated the most poorly for their impacts on sleep, FOMO, and body image. Out of the top five most popular social media platforms, YouTube was the only one that earned a positive score. The silver lining? Some argue the evaluation is “blaming the medium for the message,” and social media/online communities are also Gen Z and Millennials’ top resource for learning about “mindfulness, meditation, and wellness,” according to Ypulse data. (The Guardian)

Lego is being called the “most powerful brand in the world,” beating out Google, Visa, and Nike. Brand Finance’s latest valuation report shows Lego’s brand value increased 68% over last year, looking at metrics like “familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.” At least some of the lift can be attributed to the successful movie franchise (The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) and its strategic partnership with Star Wars.

(Business Insider)

“I kind of don't like the commercialization of fandom culture…However, creating licensed products is one way a brand could interact.”

—Male, 24, MO

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