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Online Fans Remember John Hughes, Director for a Generation
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Online Fans Remember John Hughes, Director for a Generation

Rebecca Bley, Research Analyst, Nielsen Company

“Life moves pretty fast,” Ferris Bueller warned us. “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Director John Hughes managed to capture slices of that fast-moving life on film, offering iconic, relatable characters like Ferris and the Breakfast Club kids to an entire generation. When he died suddenly on August 6, the Internet mourned the loss of a great voice in Hollywood. On the day after his death, Hughes was the most-discussed person on the Internet, according to Nielsen’s BlogPulse.

In the following days, thousands of fans reminisced about their favorite Hughes films, according to a Nielsen analysis of Hughes-related online consumer buzz. They pointed to movies like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as key points in their formative years, shaping how they viewed their high school experiences and their places in society.

Those lucky enough to have interacted with Hughes personally shared their memories of him. When blogger Alison Byrne Fields wrote of her years as Hughes’ pen-pal, links to her post skyrocketed, boosted by a link from Gawker and an interview on NPR. It quickly became the most-cited blog post on the Internet on Saturday, August 8, according to Nielsen BlogPulse. More than 1,200 users commented, many describing their own grief at Hughes’ passing.

“Thanks for sharing,” said one reader simply. “John Hughes understood us.”