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Brands on Vine: The good, the bad and the ugly


The excitement over Facebook Graph Search had barely settled when Twitter announced the launch of their new video-sharing app, Vine. A cursory search of the phrase “My #firstpost on Vine” on Twitter is enough to see the response the app has generated—six-second videos seem to be swarming all over the Internet. For its part, the marketing world seems to be pretty taken by the advertising opportunities presented by the Vine app. While brands still seem to be deciding what they should do with Facebook Graph Search, they don’t seem to be slowed by any such inhibitions to join the Vine phenomenon on Twitter.

However, on looking at the current crop of Vine videos released by brands on Twitter, one does wish that at least some of them had exercised some degree of quality control before releasing their six-second shorts. Yes, it’s a new app and almost everything that’s been put up on Vine can be called an experiment. But when you are a brand, putting out Vine experiments that do nothing for your product or business cannot be called a good marketing strategy. On the other hand, if they put out a carefully worked-upon ad on Vine, a brand (and their social media agency) would be making their presence felt in an ever-changing media atmosphere.

For instance, check out the Vine videos released by General Electric in the past few days. For a company that prides itself on being at the forefront of innovation, their stop-motion Vine videos were certainly ahead of the pack in the world of social media. Their first Vine video—released the day after Twitter launched the product—was clever and well-executed and GE has continued to put out fun animation videos in the days since. GE has already been lauded for its excellent social media presence, and they seem to be continuing their winning streak on Vine as well.

Another first Vine video that had us applauding is the Malibu Rum post tagged as “when good things come together.” Their next video was a clever play on the Super Bowl theme, which was, once again, imaginatively executed. But GE and Malibu Rum represent only one end of the Vine spectrum—there were other brands whose Vine videos left a lot to be desired. Candy manufacturer Red Vines put out a video that they tagged “#vineception,” which, if one assumes is a veiled reference to the hit Christopher Nolan flick Inception, had some of us as perplexed as we felt when we watched the referenced movie.

But, in all fairness and also to their credit, the subsequent videos that the team at Red Vines released were a lot more appealing—for instance, check out their video entitled “Whoopi Vineberg.” Similar is the case of Urban Outfitters, whose first Vine video, which they (sarcastically?) called “the most important Vine you’ll ever see,” was utterly uninspiring. However, they seem to have got their thinking caps on the right way with the next few videos they released, which were more in line with the fun, youthful exuberance that Urban Outfitters is known for. This just means that in their race to get to Vine first, these brands compromised on quality the first time around.

Dom Hofmann, cofounder and general manager of Vine, said in a blog post that “constraint inspires creativity,” and brands especially need to make sure that they are at their creative bests in the six seconds they have to attract and engage consumers. After all, the inherent advantages in video storytelling are too many to ignore, and brands will need to be at their innovative prime when appearing on Vine. From chewing gum to fashion jeans, Vine is open to all kinds of brands, and it will be interesting to see how each of them use this new tool in the coming days.

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest, longest-running digital marketing and technology event. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.