In Defense of GIFs


Comedy is all about timing—which is interesting—because GIFs are hilarious, and are based on repetition. I’m a big fan of the format, and have been making GIFs for about 6 years now (though I’ve never gotten really good at it). They’ve recently seen a lot of attention by way of social marketing, which makes sense, because they’re easily created and highly sharable. It’s the kind of unique content that taps into what most Internet users want: quickly digestible and highly entertaining content.

T. Kyle MacMahon, a famous GIF creator, believes that GIFs are the new emoticons of online conversation. I’d have to agree, but I’d also take it a step further. I think they complete something that emoticons never could. Where emoticons share an emotion, GIFs tell a story.

Always ahead of the curve, the MTV Movie Awards introduced a new component to their multi-media award experience: The Giffies.


Ok, so maybe it DOES hurt to look at, but GIFs aren’t about longevity, they’re about impression. A GIF artist and comedians from VH1’s Best Week Ever teamed up to pump out these awards during last night’s broadcast. The GIFs were posted on MTV’s Tumblr page and Twitter account.


There are several things that I love about MTV’s approach. First, they get it. The Internet is the new marketing landscape, and award shows have to adapt to a duel-screen viewership. The content produced during the MTV Movie Awards was quick, witty, and easily sharable. Both Twitter and Tumblr are built upon the recycling of content (which is why they’re going to be the top social media platforms in 2013—sorry Facebook), they’re perfect for this kind of marketing.

Secondly, MTV’s Giffies capitalize on the theory of perceived value. Basically, it’s the idea that social marketing works best when you develop content that is cheap to create and valuable to your consumers. I think GIFs are a great example, especially for the pop-centric audience that MTV services.

This is what it looks like when a brand knows their audience.

By creating this highly accurate and easily sharable content, MTV increased the effectiveness of their marketing and the reach of the Awards Show. I don’t want to get into social media ROI, but the profit margin for this campaign must be absurd. If you’d like to read more about MTV crushing it on social media, you can do so here



One thought on “In Defense of GIFs

  1. Pingback: Sharing the GIFS of Life | Talesfromthelou's Blog

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