The GIF that keeps on GIF-ing!

This year the GIF celebrated its 25th birthday and stands as one of the longest reigning elements on the world wide web. Originally presenting itself in small animated icons throughout the 90s and transitioning through a bold and glittery Myspace phase, the GIF today has evolved into a repetitive looped sequence mainly extracted from television or movie clips.

Think Obama mic dropping, the waving bear, Kanye cracking a smile, Jennifer Lawrence tripping on the red carpet, GIFs are taking the internet by storm and they haven’t gone unnoticed.

Facebook and Twitter both got on board during the last two years integrating GIF buttons for users to get GIF-happy! Now when you scroll through your newsfeed, they have become impossible to ignore – advertising, demonstrating, reacting, entertaining – you name it, the GIF will cover it!

But why the GIF and why now?

We are living at a time where almost everything is available to us instantly. Gone are the days of dial-up connections and buffering videos, the GIF will start immediately with no need to even press play. Internet users are met with a continuous loop of a message, moment or advertisement whether they wanted to see it or not.

On top of this, the nature of GIFs means they are only a few seconds long so their message is conveyed instantaneously. Ad Week described them as “a moving picture telling the story of the moment better than either a photo or video ever could.” Content often gets lost within a lengthy video where as a GIF gets to the point directly and there’s no qualms if you missed it the first time because it will repeat itself over and over and over again. In fact, based on Ad Week’s data, GIFs typically generate seven times the views and engagement of a video from the same event. Hard evidence that the GIF must be onto something good.

While they are great for comedic value, GIFs also serve a valuable purpose within the world of advertising and marketing. They have been used to showcase products and ideas, advertise events or just to inject some fun into brands and campaigns. Take our client Kirsty’s for example… We have created a variety of playful and branded sequences for her to share across social media, which successfully engage viewers while also reiterating the brand name and encouraging product sales.

The GIF continues to expand across social media and is now moving into the top of web searches, where we are witnessing the introduction of sponsored brands’ GIFs. Despite its 25 year milestone, it has stood the test of time and according to Digimind, “far from falling into disuse, the GIF has actually mutated and become a medium in itself, an education channel, and of course a communication and marketing tool.”

If you are interested in personalised GIFs to take your business’ social media to the next level, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Three Clients Nominated for Cheshire Business Awards 2017

It’s an exciting day in The Source offices today with not one, not even two, but THREE of our clients being nominated for the prestigious Trinity Mirror Cheshire Business Awards 2017.

We love an award entry at The Source and don’t mind us if we say we’re pretty good at it. Of course, it helps that our amazing clients have plenty to shout about! The Chester Grosvenor hotel, The Ice Cream Farm and Text Local have been nominated for the Employer of the Year award, the Innovation and Enterprise Award and the Business of the Year award (over 50 employees) respectively.

The awards recognise excellence, innovation and achievement across the Cheshire region. With a staggering 48% increase in entries this year, we’d like to congratulate our clients for getting to this stage, as it was a particularly competitive shortlisting process!

The awards ceremony will be held at Chester Cathedral on Friday 6th October. For more information, visit http://www.eventsnorthwest.co.uk/cheshire-business-awards/.

The Power of Social Media

Social media has the power and the ability to change the world. It’s a broad claim, but the proof is in the figures; our good friends at Clicky Media have calculated that 92.6% of the 65 million UK population have internet access and over half of the population are active on social media sites – and this is just the UK, so imagine the numbers on a global scale! Social platforms are continuously developing; we have gone from basic status sharing sites to ones which are now inundated with gifs, memes, user-generated content and ‘reactions’, all of which keep internet users engaged and ‘tuned in’ to the events of the wider world.

Whilst it may seem impossible to change the world with a single click, we beg to differ. Who would have thought that something as simple as tipping a bucket of ice over yourself on social media would be powerful enough to raise over $100m for the ALS Association in just thirty days? The comedic but humane movement reached out to thousands of internet users, and for weeks, our social spaces were overflowing with UGC of people entertaining a mass audience for a better cause. The success of the videos was invaluable – the donations that were made as a result of the challenge funded research that successfully identified a new gene associated with the disease.

In 2014, the hashtag #NoMakeUpSelfie started trending. The hashtag followed an influx of women posting bare-faced selfies, encouraging their friends to do the same by nominating them and asking them to donate £5 to Cancer Research once their selfie had been shared. The most amazing aspect of the campaign is not the content, but its origin. The campaign wasn’t started by Cancer Research, but by a single member of the public. The hashtag then caught on, social media worked its magic, and before we knew it, £8m had been raised in one week.

The impressive volume of internet users has proven to do an extreme amount of good, something which has been seen many times in the recent weeks. From pictures, to hashtags and heartfelt statuses, the UK population showed immense support shown for the victims of the attacks and their families. The attacks sent a digital aftershock globally, and not only was it a space for digital grieving, but also for communities to offer a helping hand, with hashtags such as #PrayForManchester and #RoomsForManchester trending, offering those caught up and stranded in the attacks a safe place to hide, eat, drink and sleep.

The true power of social media can never be underestimated – something which we have learnt to appreciate as a PR agency. Social media combined with the power of the people, and the tools available on social platforms can have a global effect and truly make a difference to lives. At The Source, we’re certain that the power of social media will continue to grow and we hope it continues to have such a positive impact on many individuals and businesses.

2017: The Tact of Advertising the Drink of Diplomacy

Drinks companies constantly produce and push campaigns through various social media platforms and TV channels.  We’re so used to seeing them that we almost become desensitised.  However, in April 2017 campaigns from drinks giants Pepsi and Heineken became hot topics for different reasons.  Both put out issue-driven messages but one took the internet by storm and the other had to be taken down…

 

Heineken’s ‘Worlds Apart’ social experiment reached 13,520,408 views on YouTube with #OpenYourWorld creating a real conversation on Twitter. At the start of the video the question, “Is there more that unites than divides us?” was asked in between short clips of six people describing their views on topical issues such as; Climate Change, LGBT rights and Feminism. By addressing real world issues, Heineken created a campaign that everyday people could relate to, choosing subjects at the forefront of today’s society.

 

In contrast to Heineken, Pepsi took inspiration from the social justice movements Black Lives Matter, yet the campaign was vague and lacked any acknowledgement of real-world issues.  The advert showed a generic protest with a serious looking police officer relaxing when handed a Pepsi by super model, Kendall Jenner.

 

This message was not received well by viewers.  Bernise King, daughter of Martin Luther King tweeted a picture of her father with the caption: “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.” The lack of perspective was put down to the campaign being created in-house in comparison to creative agency input.

 

The question is – Did they create these as PR stunts purposefully taking a gamble on the outcome?  When creating a PR or marketing campaign, every element needs to be dissected and each possible reaction debated to prevent a PR disaster. As the saying goes, ‘There’s no such thing as bad PR’, but careful planning, understanding your audience and preventing the inevitable is all part of the difference between a bad campaign and a truly great one.

 

If you feel your business needs some guidance to create the best PR campaign, get in touch. We are what you need.