“My first agency job was making animated GIFs of Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam. I’m amazed this file format still dominates Internet meme culture. It seems only appropriate to give them award recognition. All hail the GIF.” —juror Ginny Golden
“This is the perfect celebration of creativity, encouraging the art and craft of this deliciously playful medium with great consideration, design and delivery.” —juror Tali Krakowsky
Overview: Film has the Oscars, television has the Emmys and websites have the Webbys, but no one has ever honored the GIF, the unsung hero of digital media. The .GIFYS awards were created to celebrate the GIF as an art form, a vehicle for social commentary and an integral part of Internet culture. Held entirely online, the first annual .GIFYS awards show featured a panel of Internet experts who nominated the best GIFs of the Internet in twelve categories. When voting opened to the public, more than half a million people chose the best GIFs of the year.
• A small team of six creatives and developers from CP+B Los Angeles brought the .GIFYS awards show to life.
• The site had a total of 234,703 unique visitors, the majority of which came during the one-week voting period.
• The back end of the site was built with Node.js and MongoDB, running on Amazon Web Services Elastic Beanstalk and CloudFront.
Comments by Chelsea O'Brien and Corey Szopinski:
How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on in the past? “This was an entirely different beast. There was no client. No brief. We had free rein here, which meant that although we had carte blanche, we needed to be smart. In the end, the Internet audience was our client, and we didn't want to let them down. So we set up our own guardrails and tried to think like GIF enthusiasts (which we already were). For example, because of the inexplicable obsession with cat GIFs, we decided to break down animal GIFs into two categories: ‘cats’ and ‘animals (non-feline).’”
What was the thinking behind the navigation structure? “A simple floating navigation panel easily navigates between categories and populates with a checkmark for each new vote. For mobile voting, categories collapse and expand with each new vote, moving the voter along seamlessly. We also created a cookie-based ID that allowed us to track votes without requiring a login, so a person could land on the site and cast a vote within seconds.”
What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “No one had ever attempted anything like this before. There was no precedent for this sort of thing, and we’d never made an awards show. We’re not BuzzFeed or Mashable. Would anyone care about our GIF awards? The hardest thing was defying all the doubt that lay in our path and marching forward in the belief that people would care enough about GIFs to think the .GIFYS were important.”