Quick test: How do you pronounce “GIF”? OK, now how do you pronounce “Jif”?
If you used a “soft G” like in “jelly” to pronounce the popular peanut butter brand, you got it right. And if you went with a hard “G” like in “goodie” for those frequently shared looping videos, you got that right, too.
That’s according to Giphy, anyway, the database most of us tap for that perfect image to punctuate our thoughts.
Now, back in the day, the computer scientist who created GIF, Steve Wilhite of the popular online service CompuServe, indicated otherwise: GIF was meant to be pronounced as “Jif.”
Sticking to its effort to set the GIF-JIF record straight, and, um, spread the news, from their revisionist point of view, Jif, the peanut butter brand that is part of the J.M. Smucker Co. product portfolio, has partnered with Giphy on a marketing campaign just ahead of National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day on March 1.
“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,” said Jif vice president of marketing Rebecca Scheidler, in a release.
Jif has created a limited run of collectible tongue-in-cheek specially labeled jars that say “Gif” right on the front. The jars are being sold on Amazon for just under $10, for as long as they last.
In his own statement, Giphy founder and CEO Alex Chung says, “Whether you like your Gs hard or soft, let’s all share some fun and let peanut butter unite us in saying GIF and eating Jif.”
This rather crunchy pronunciation debate has been going on since 1987, when GIFs burst onto the scene.
In 2014, President Barack Obama famously went with the hard G himself in deciding how to pronounce GIF. “That is my official position,” he said at the time.
As part of the marketing campaign, Giphy created a suite of GIF versus Jif .gif files. The companies are also promoting the #JifvsGIF hashtag.
However you choose to pronounce it, the shorthand GIF is a tastier name than when it is spelled out as Graphics Interchange Format.