Once just a way to show that your website was under construction, GIFS are now a valued means of communication. Whole blogs are composed of them. Whole conversations are had in their parlance. The first thesis done in animated GIF format can’t be too far off. Now, Tumblr, unofficial Internet headquarters for all GIF-related technology, is running sponsored .gif ads in its Radar sidebar. You will be able to differentiate these animated clips from all of the other animated clips on tumblr by, well, you actually probably kind of won’t be able to, which is what makes this smart advertising. And just like smart advertising anyway, this might leave you feeling a little oily after you see it.
GIFs as ads have been around for a while, and in a way, it makes a ton of sense for tumblr to start running with them as advertisements. Tumblr has been largely the place where the (non-nefarious) animated GIF was resurrected. This is clearly a medium that really appeals to their user base, along with screencaps of text messages and pictures of dogs confessing their little doggy sins.
In another way, though, it’s another weird blending of sponsored product placement and community generated content that, while effective as advertising and pretty much the new law of the land, can still leave one with a rather discomfited feeling. Pretty soon it will be impossible to tell what cats falling off of shelves are advertisements for delicious snack cakes, and which ones are just cats falling off of shelves. All content will become a vast and featureless wasteland in which commentary and commercialism are one and the same.
Also, this strikes us as just weird for a lot of companies. I mean, does Calvin Klein really strike anybody as a very GIF-brand? But hey, it was just Tumblr in the first place, so, no big deal maybe? I mean, yeah, probably no big deal.
(via Tech Crunch)
- Maybe we forgot what tumblr was for. Thing like this, for example
- And they do like them some advertising revenue
- But man, this gray area between user content and ads is getting vast and weird