The GIF is a Game Changer for PR
We all have something that makes us laugh until we cry. For my roommate, that something is a graphics interchange format or a GIF of a depressed dog wearing a wig and a turtleneck, while holding an empty ice cream carton.
GIFs. How can they change your reaction?
The capacity of the GIF to convey obscure emotions justifies my roommate’s reaction. For a college student, the image of a broken-hearted teen eating her feelings is all too real. Replacing the girl with a dog prompts viewers to laugh at their own experiences.
The GIF works in media because it merges ideas from other sources to convey the intended meaning. I recently read a Her Campus blog post entitled “The 11 Struggles of Living with a Roommate as Told by Jessica Day.” In the post, the writer assumes that her audience has seen the FOX sitcom “New Girl.” She trusts the viewers’ understanding of Jessica Day’s character and incorporates some of her facial expressions to better communicate the experience of living with a roommate.
Digital communication and social media pervade our culture, posing the risk of users misinterpreting each other’s perspectives. When GIFs are integrated into an article or blog post, consumers can discern the writer’s tone with little effort.
For these reasons, GIFs can be powerful tools in public relations. The use of GIFs in social media communications demonstrates an understanding of relevant cultural trends. It shows that PR professionals and the brands they represent care enough about the consumer experience to make them laugh. GIFs also transmit brand messaging while avoiding communication misunderstandings.
Many brands post GIFs to their Tumblr pages. Two notable examples of this are Coca-Cola’s GIFs of Coke bottles riding in a convertible and a Coke can lounging by the pool.
Both examples send the message that Coca-Cola is aware of what its consumers’ favorite activities are and that its product is an essential component of enjoying those activities.
In today’s integrated media environment, consumers have several media channels demanding their attention at a given time. GIFs make it possible for them to absorb content quickly, which increases the likelihood that they will fully comprehend a brand’s message.
Why hasn’t everyone started using GIFs yet?
- Allie Murphy