Jif or Gif? That is the question… for those who care about the correct pronunciation of the file type of those very short looping animations that are a staple of Internet memes and texting culture.
Ever since people really started ramping up the use of .gif files over the past decade, the debate has raged over whether it should be pronounced GIF, or JIF.
Well, America’s favorite peanut butter brand is weighing in on the issue. J.M. Smucker put out a press release February 25 saying the file type should not be pronounced like the iconic peanut butter brand Jif.
Smucker said, quote, “Jif, said with a ‘soft G,’ is America's number one peanut butter. GIFs, said with a "hard G," are the frequently shared looping videos that add humor, culture and entertainment into people's daily conversations.”
Taking advantage of National Peanut Putter Lover’s Day on March 1, Smucker said it is proving how Jif and Gif differ by releasing a limited run of specialty-labeled jars that say G.I.F. ‘Gif’ right on the front where the giant JIF letters normally are, and they’re being sold on Amazon for 10 dollars, more than four dollars more than normal jars sell for. Those specialty jars quickly sold out, so Jif added another 500 of them, which also sold out in 5 minutes.
Jif teamed up with GIPHY, the world’s largest GIF search engine, for the promotion.
In its press release, Jif VP of marketing Rebecca Scheidler said, quote, “We’re teaming up with GIPHY to put a lid on this decade-long debate and prove there is only one Jif … it’s creamy, delicious peanut butter, not a looping picture you can send to make friends and family laugh. So spread the word like Jif on bread — Jif is peanut butter, GIFs are animations!” end quote.
It's a fun promotion, and given that it’s a friendly debate among millennials everywhere, it seems the smart play would be for Jif to keep selling these specialty jars of GIF-labeled peanut butter as long as they are hot-sellers.
Jif says acknowledged the soft G vs. Hard G debate has been going on since the .gif file type was invented in 1987.
An acronym for graphics interchange format, .gifs were developed by CompuServe in 1987. Its file format’s inventor, computer scientist Steve Wilhite, has said that the acronym should be pronounced with a soft G. Personally, I’m a soft G man. And since the Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations, I say we as a society should accept both.
Thankfully, there’s no debate on peanut butter. It’s awesome.