A Critical Analysis of GIFs: Wendy’s

On June 20th, 2016 in Critique


He we have a gif posing the question: “Can I achieve balance if I can’t balance”. The phrasing is mildly humorous, playing on the double meaning of balance as both a literal act and metaphor. The action itself compliments the phrase, acting it out through someone struggling with yoga. It is technically funny, in that it meets the dictionary definition of a joke, and should be relatable to a wide audience. However, it feels stilted.

The struggling yogi is overacting, or rather her arm is, undermining the dramatic tension of the gif which fails to even provide the resolution of her actions with a fall or similarly conclusive action.

Worse, no one is reacting. Both the neighboring yogi and yogi in the mirror act as if nothing is happening around them. Perhaps they have found their bliss, but it creates a vacuum and isolates the struggling yogi, creating a cognitive dissonance that is more uncomfortable than funny.

If we look to the source we find further context for the work. It is a tumblr advertisement for Wendy’s with post text reading “If you’re gonna fall, might as well fall into the new Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad.” The question is begged: what does a chicken salad have to do with falling, balance, or yoga?

The entire piece feels like they are trying to emulate something without fully understanding the process or cultural force behind it. It smacks of board room brainstorming that led to, “someone said this on the internet once and people laughed at it and shared it so put it on our page with some of our food so they laugh and share it too”.

It feels gross and weird and wrong, even if it is not totally out of place in late stage capitalism where brands a presented as things which have personalities. If one were to caption this captioned post of a captioned gif, it might read something like “Here is a humor. Now please to buy my food.”