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

Quote of the Day: “I follow movie critics/sites on Twitter - this is the best way to find out latest news and upcoming films.”—Male, 23, AL

McDonald’s new ad is brand-free and interactive. In the TV spot starring Mindy Kaling, she never says the brand’s name and no logo appears—though she is wearing a yellow dress in front of a red background. Instead, Kaling asks viewers to go to Google and search "that place where Coke tastes so good" to find out for themselves. Requesting the viewer to take action “play[s] on how teens and twentysomethings use their phones while watching TV, while also acknowledging "how they're discovering information" they trust. The ad has been viewed almost 4 million times since being posted earlier this week. (Inc.MediaPost

Nintendo might have plans to dominate the holidays (again). Last week, the brand announced the discontinuation of the wildly popular NES Classic Edition after very limited availability—news that was not received well by gamers worldwide. But now rumor has it that the brand is working on a SNES Classic Edition that could come in time for Christmas 2017, according to Eurogamer's sources. If their response is any indication, Millennial nostalgia will guarantee a success for the relaunch of the classic console. (Let’s just hope Nintendo makes enough this time.) (WWG)  

“Satisfying videos” are trending, and brands are taking notice. Clips that feature “repetitive tasks, perfect patterns in motion or machinery processes being completed in slow motion, with relaxing music” are providing Millennials and Gen Z an escape from stress—as we explored in our In Their Heads trend. These videos—which include things like paint mixing, slime squeezing, and cake icing—are only getting more popular online: over 265,000 posts on Instagram currently live under the hashtag #satisfyingvideos. Prism TV is one brand capitalizing on the trend, with a promotional video series that shows painters mixing colors together in slow motion. (DIGIDAY

Teens are ushering in a new era of “webrooming.” According to a new Dealspotr survey, 47% of 20-year-olds and younger are using their phones as their primary source for online apparel shopping, compared to 39% of Millennials and 37% of Gen X and Boomers. However, since they are less likely to have digital payment options, they were also the most likely age group to shop in-store, signifying they are using mobile to “reverse showroom” or “webroom.” The survey also found that H&M leads as the most popular retailer for the group, followed by Forever 21. (Yahoo FinanceDealspotr

Beauty brands regularly market to Millennials by speaking to their too-busy, “chicly rushed lifestyles,” but is it the right approach? Newcomers Milk Makeup and Allies of Skin are just a few examples of brands growing their beauty empires by offering simple products that are easy to apply, have multiple uses, and can shorten routines for the busy consumer. But when it comes to beauty, quality may come before convenience, especially for young consumers who enjoy spending time on makeup routines: a Ypulse survey found that 55% of 13-33-year-olds like experimenting with different looks. (Racked

Quote of the Day: “I am passionate about beauty, and I look to Ulta, Sephora, and Bluemercury to learn what news products are out on the market and how to use them.”

—Female, 24, FL

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