Nothing makes me laugh quite like a #whatshouldwecallme .gif that mirrors my roommate’s reaction to someone changing her 90’s playlist in the car, or one that calls to mind the feeling of selfish despair, after I have discovered that my last single friend in New York City found a new boyfriend .
There is something so on point and discerning that .gif provides, other than filling the void of bland text humor. Not only has the self-deprecating theme of whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com allowed thousands to relate on a more personal and honest premise through animated visuals, it has also inspired so many people to re-blog these notorious .gifs, possibly distilling a “truer self” along the way.
The flood of new .gif based Tumblr sites:
are essentially branding situations rich in emotional context through visual personas and facial idiosyncrasies. These .gifs run the gamut of highlighting our darkest hours, daily victories, and subtle annoyances, entertaining “a day in the life” spectacle that most of us can identify with.
From the beginning of mankind, we have attributed complex meaning to facial expressions, an extraordinary and progressive trait unique to human beings. Expressions have always served as a chief social device for emotional connectivity with others, be it our desire to influence others or reflect our innermost feelings. This human quality alone may play a key role in the attractiveness of these sites as we relive and share feelings of joy or humiliation…We are all fallen to the tendency of the seven deadly sins, so why not laugh about it?
The success and excitement of animated .gifs is two-fold: they challenge the face-to-face disconnect between people that technology has created, and their content is chock full of emotional relevance surrounding an event or situation…No wonder .gifs, a digital space that was popular in 1995, is having such a colossal comeback.
As for brands, .gifs present an excellent opportunity to capitalize and expand on visual voice. They bring to light the power of expression and the importance of situational relevance for people. How can brands dial up expression in their visual voice so that it is engaging across all platforms? Are there certain elements of design that are highly associated with human traits, or trigger deeper rumination? With regards to brand positioning, can we create influential meaning around a situation or experience that is not necessarily a concrete idea or concept?.Exploring the holistic and human experience that .gifs provide may spark ideas for branding.