Clocking in at just six seconds, a Vine can make the old-school elevator pitch seem like a doctoral dissertation. But creative companies are finding a way to pack a lot of marketing muscle into the looping videos that are easy for both customers and brand-builders to create and share through social media. And some innovators are taking the video-sharing service, launched by Twitter in January 2013, from the smartphone to the big screen.
In September, Dunkin’ Donuts aired the first-ever television ad made completely from Vine video during ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, the Monday Night Football pre-game show. The ads mimicked game replays and featured Dunkin’ drinks as players.
“I think that was an interesting and first-ever use of Vine,” says Ekaterina Walter, cofounder of Branderati.
It was also effective, with Dunkin’ Donuts representatives telling Walter each #DunkinReplay Vine delivered as many impressions as a comparable TV spot at a significantly lower cost.
“So they found that it was a very high ROI,” said Walter, author of the upcoming book, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand.
It was also a great way to squeeze in a marketing message in context and without really interrupting people’s viewing experience. The short video segments also fed viewers’ seemingly insatiable appetite for video content. To mark its eighth anniversary in May 2013, YouTube announced users uploaded 100 hours to YouTube every minute. And statistics collected by The 7th Chamber in fall 2013 showed five tweets per second contained a Vine video link.
“The attention span of an average customer is shrinking,” Walter said. “And so I think what’s happening is the shorter and more impactful the segments are, the more interesting and effective they will be.”
Vines that encourage interaction are one of the best ways to break though the marketing clutter. In one example, Urban Outfitters teamed up with Converse in a contest offering a cross-country trip and other prizes for Vines that creatively answered the question “Where do your Chucks go?” in six seconds or less, inspiring consumers to create their own content.
Other effective Vines offer viewers visual demos that show them how to do everything from clean rusty knives (as seen in Lowe’s Fix it in Six series) to mix the perfect Cuba Libre (as seen in Bacardi’s Six Second Cocktail series).
“People want videos that are useful and entertaining, and they want to know how you cater to their interests. Try a “how-to” or demo of your product – or present something interesting related to your brand,” said Eric Hinson, founder and CEO of Explainify, which creates brief explanatory videos. “This should go without saying for all social media, but don’t try to hard sell your products here.”
It may also be worth mentioning Vine viewers should probably complete the Lowe’s how-to before concocting cocktails.