What’s in a GIF? A powerful, creative idea!

How do you pronounce GIF? As JIF? Or GIF, with the ‘Gi’ from Give? While that question rages on, what is your understanding of a GIF?

Currently, because of the way they are used on social media, they have stopped being an image format and are now commonly understood to be a basic animation format.

If I say GIF, you expect a short animated file that plays on loop, endlessly. The crux is endless loop. It does one thing, again and again.

Why this lengthy intro for a simple GIF?

Because the idea is fertile ground for using creatively for a brand. The Peruvian agency Circus Grey used our understanding of GIF (endless loop) to great effect for their client Powerade, a sports energy drink from Coca-Cola.

The idea is really simple, but also super smart. The agency created billboards with a static image of a sportsperson in action, and simply put a giant GIF in the middle!! Your mind does the rest!

Now you understand the lengthy intro? When you see a GIF in the middle, as you see on pictures on social media, you instinctively (want to) click on it and let it run on a loop. When I saw it online, I impulsively clicked on it only to figure it is a static image 🙂

What your mind does works brilliantly for the brand which literally translates to, ‘If you drink Powerade, you could work out more/non-stop’. Very smart.

Unfortunately, I remembered seeing this core idea earlier. The Brazilian energy drink brand Flying Horse (notice the irony: another energy drink—albeit not sports energy drink—from South America) created a hilarious series through Ogilvy Brazil in 2016, using the same idea.

Their print ads showed an event’s audience with a GIF in the middle, indicating that these people would be super active ‘on loop’ (if they drink Flying Horse).

The video is even funnier. It’s utterly corny and borders on magical realism since it involves a man turning into a GIF!! Just watch it 🙂

But yes, while I really liked Circus Grey’s brilliant idea that makes the audience think briefly, connect the dots and makes them work on the communication (thereby making it richer in terms of benign interactivity), I was also dismayed that it wasn’t their original idea. This, despite the fact that Circus Grey’s use is far more purposeful and superior, using it on a single person, indicating that person’s non-stop action due to the energy.

The idea, in itself, is absolutely brilliant. So, kudos to Ogilvy Brazil.



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