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It all comes back to hamsters

May 26, 2009

If you read my post about Lolcats, you know I’m a sucker for silly animal pictures and videos. Apparently I’m not alone in my affinity for anthropomorphism. (Nerd alert! Pause for definition.)

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, natural and supernatural phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts.

John Tenniel's depiction of this anthropomorphic rabbit was featured in the first chapter of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

John Tenniel's depiction of this anthropomorphic rabbit was featured in the first chapter of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Last weekend I went to see my younger sister graduate from college, and all her friends were laughing hysterically at this hamster video on YouTube.

I have to admit it is strangely addicting (Mary Pat  likes it too). My sister mentioned how glad she was that I thought the video was funny, and then said something that I found rather thought-provoking. She said that the sense of humor of this country was changing and that she liked it. She is, after all, the one who turned me on to Lolcats. Maybe she was right, I thought to myself. It is the perfect storm for a new breed of humor. People have short attention spans, they want to laugh, and they want to be able to share it.  YouTube videos are getting sillier and sillier, while self-deprecating sites like FML and Failblog.org are getting more and more popular. The internet has completely changed the way we consume media. It can, and is, just as easily changing what we find funny.

We should have seen this coming 10 years ago. Remember the Hamster Dance?

People like talking animals. Always have. Always will. If millions of internet users watch thousands of hamster videos online or build their own Lolcats, they’re no longer internet fads; they’re full-blown movements. So, how do marketers capitalize on internet memes like dancing hamsters or talking animals? Give the people what they want. While the Vitamin Water 10 campaign that Kim wrote about has some great talking animals, my favorite spot running right now is from Kia Motors for the new Soul.

I like to think of it as a sort of Hamster Dance 2.0. See, I told you it all comes back to hamsters.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2009 4:11 pm

    I’m so glad someone else noticed the hamster trend! I hadn’t thought of hamster dance in years until I saw that Kia commercial. And I’ve happily noticed the growing number of pet-related videos on youtube. I think you hit the nail on the head with the kind of humor that people can share easily.

  2. Crystal permalink*
    August 12, 2009 9:49 pm

    You can not stay neutral in this debate. You need to pick a side. Hamsters or Cats. Terrific post.

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