Sensationalism and Perception of Gen Z : A ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ Case Study

Sensationalism and Perception of Gen Z : A ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ Case Study

Patricia Castro


Lover of all things PR, digital marketing, and storytelling. As a social media and partnerships manager, I enjoy communicating brand values through digital content and strategic partnerships. In my free time, I work on entrepreneurial opportunities, read and write short stories, and volunteer to work with writers and artists as a proofreader and book publisher. My main goal is to expand my skills and knowledge in digital marketing… and publish a book! I enjoy meeting new people, let’s connect!

Research Summary

By analyzing the Tide Pod Challenge phenomenon, this study explores how sensationalist reporting can greatly influence how we market and interact with certain groups of people. The research uses a mixed-methods approach, using LIWC software to conduct a text analysis, as well as a content analysis. The research studies a sample of the most popular news articles written about the challenge at its peak and 300 YouTube comments made by the public to discover hidden sentiment. By the end of this presentation, you will understand how the coverage of the challenge shaped negative sentiments toward Gen Z and how this is a detriment to many companies trying to market to them.


Social Media, Marketing, Gen Z

Lightning Talk

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