NEW YORK: GIFs are growing in prominence as a way for brands to drop into the bloodstream of the internet, according to a new report.

The looped video format is popular with young people who dip into popular culture for memes and references to show how they’re feeling.  

“GIFs are an economical way for consumers to express their moods, and smart brands are creating GIFs as a utility for that purpose, making these shareable personal expressions and not just a six-second video,” Quynh Mai, founder of the digital agency Moving Image and Content, told Adweek.  

For brands, including, Amazon, Converse, Gatorade, and PepsiCo, the medium is emerging as an effective way to place a brand into the consumer’s story.

In a recent campaign for Bubly, PepsiCo’s new sparkling water brand, the brand rolled out thousands of GIFs, many of which feature the actor Neil Patrick Harris. The branding is subtle, but the thinking is sound – despite the orthodoxy of 6-second bumper video, GIFs are arguably superior in relatability to the consumer.


Speaking at South by South West earlier this month, Alex Chung, CEO of Giphy – the platform on which Bubly developed its GIFs – said that the triumph of the GIF was its ability to “turn advertising into content”.

There are also financial advantages. They’re “more cost-effective to produce than full videos”, explained Juliette Leavey, associate director of digital strategy at the agency Deutsch. “But the main reason to invest in them is shareability.”

Back in 2016, WARC covered Giphy’s forays into building its offer to advertisers. At the time, the company had just announced the integration of GIFs into dating app Tinder and other brand partners included McDonalds, Subway, and Interscope Records.  

In the UK, Dominos, the pizza delivery chain was able to use GIFs to enter conversations taking place on ‘dark social,’ finding that the medium was an effective way to overcome ad blockers on standard browsers.

Sourced from Adweek, WARC