Video: A Vine from NatWest
Brands from all kinds of sectors have been experimenting with Vine video content over the past year, from Doritos running a “name that tune” competition at Easter featuring its famous Mariachi band, to NatWest courting students on A Level results day with a series of videos offering tips on how to survive university (see above). Cadbury owner Mondelez and Dunkin Donuts have even taken their Vines one step further by converting them into TV ads.
Vine: ‘the press ad for the modern generation’
Dara Nasr, Twitter UK head of sales, told Marketing Week the “constraint of six seconds has driven creativity” among brands.
“[A diverse range of brands] have already been successful in creating videos that entertain, inform and amaze their followers, and we can’t wait to see what else brands come up with in 2014,” he adds.
The rise of Vine artists – users such as Zach King or Origiful who can charge up to $5,000 to make a single six-second film – is seeing Vine become “the press advert for the modern generation”, according to Nadya Powell, managing director at social media agency MRY.
“At the dawn of advertising, press advertising was king and gave birth to princely copywriters making their careers on headline mastery, David Ogilvy being one of them. Vine is giving birth to a whole new generation of princes and princesses, who can make something that changes a person’s entire 24 hours in six seconds – they are magicians, entertainers, social commentators or just plain artists.
“A well made brand Vine immediately distinguishes a brand who gets it from one that does not. The films Origiful did for brands shows how awesome a brand Vine can be, but most importantly they have brought six seconds of joy to people’s lives. And a belief that what the hell – let’s just have some fun. And you can’t beat that,” she adds.
Video: A Vine created for Nokia by Vine user Origiful
The six-second challenge
For some brands, though, the six-second constraint can pose too much of a challenge to deliver clear results.
Thomas Messett, head of digital marketing and advocacy for Nokia Europe, says: “Vine reminds me a lot of Twitter in its early days, it has a lot of promise and marketers are excited as they can see it has potential, but the form is limiting. How can you land a message or tell a story or create something compelling that will influence a consumer in just six seconds? It can be done, just like it can be done in 140 characters, but it’s hard and I don’t think many brands have the formula yet.”
Vine, and marketers’ experiments with the platform, are still very much in their experimental stage. But as the app grows out of infancy in 2014, marketers will be looking for analytics – “view counts, for a start,” Messett suggests – just as they did with its parent company Twitter as it grew in popularity.
Marketers looking to monetise Vine value should focus on building it into their wider content strategy to ensure consumers are driven closer to the brand after engaging on Vine, according to James McDavid, Forrester UK marketing leader researcher – but he admits this is “more of a challenge” than adding value to consumers by providing utility or entertaining them.
Is it too early to make improvements to a one-year-old?
Paul Armstrong, owner of Digital Orange Consultancy, also suggests other issues that need to be overcome before marketers devote a significant chunk of their budgets and resources towards it: “Vine still needs a lot of improvements when it comes to content filtering for copyrighted content, protection against mature content and – most importantly for brands – an ad system that works with Twitter,” he says.
However, Forrester’s McDavid warns against making too many brand-centred tweaks.
He adds: “Vine are making steps to introduce proper web profiles which would be great for brands, but personally I feel that one of the strong things about Vine at the moment is how it feels like it’s growing organically and with some degree of drive from the community rather than being a brand-led platform like Facebook has become, and because of that it’s become attractive to a user base that marketers are keen to reach.”
Beyond keeping its own yard in order, Vine would also do well to train one eye over the picket fence at the aforementioned Facebook, especially on Instagram video, which has a bigger app install base and allows users and brands to shoot 15 seconds of video.
At just a year old Vine has shown enough maturity and pulling power to gather the attention of some of the world’s biggest brands, celebrities and created Vine celebrities in its own right. And while there is certainly enthusiasm towards experimenting with Vine, the recently stock market-floated Twitter will need to apply its business acumen to its little brother if it is to convince marketers to devote serious budgets towards six-second spots.