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GIF Me a Break Don't Look Now (if you can resist), Because They Could Be the Ads of the FutureYou’ve seen a lot of GIFs by now. You know, the theater full of laughing Minions, the cat gets even GIF, the Mona Lisas, including the one in which she wags her “No, you didn’t” finger.

GIF is shorthand for “Graphics Interchange Format.” Around since the 1980s, “it’s becoming the go-to language for how millennials communicate via text,” reports CNBC. “Naturally, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others are jumping on the GIF bandwagon.”

“Animated GIFs are becoming ubiquitous. They are becoming this language that people are using everywhere,” said Riffsy CEO David McIntosh.

Turns out McIntosh created the GIF Keyboard for mobile, which makes it easy to text GIFs and add them into Facebook and LinkedIn’s messenger apps. Riffsy told CNBC “the year-old company now has five billion GIF views per month, up from the 2.5 billion this summer.”

“It took off on college campuses,” said McIntosh. “A lot of people in this younger generation were already used to visual expression. They were already using emoji.”

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how emojis are replacing words. But now advertisers are noticing that GIFs could easily become the ads of the future.

“(GIFs are) particularly well suited for marketing movies and TV shows because scenes can easily be trimmed down into a GIF,” CNBC reports. “And unlike video, these silent, looping GIFs play easily with any bandwidth on any device, including smartwatches.”

A shorter, GIF-sized attention span? You betcha, believes McIntosh.

“Three to five seconds is the new three to five minutes,” McIntosh said.

There’s an old ad mantra that insists “the more you tell, the more you sell (attributed to 60s ad guru David Ogilvy). Well, move over Ogilvy. Today it looks Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (an architect!) nailed it with his classic dictum: “Less is more.”

Could a three second GIF of a Big Mac make me drive to the nearest McDonald’s? I’m not sure, but I’ll let you know after I watch this GIF of Mona Lisa morphing into a mad demon.

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