I have seen 20 minutes into the future, and it looks like Vine, the mobile service from Twitter that lets you capture and share short looping videos, has turned science fiction into reality. Video clips created with Vine have a maximum length of six seconds and can be shared on a variety of social networking services, such as Twitter or Facebook.
Vine was founded by Dom Hofmann and Rus Yusupov in June 2012. Colin Kroll joined Vine as CTO in July 2012. The company was acquired by Twitter in October 2012 and debuted on Jan. 24, 2013 as a free iOS app on the iPhone and iPod Touch. A blog post from Twitter introducing Vine said, “We’re working now to bring it to other platforms, so stay tuned for that.”
Now, if the idea of short looping videos seems new, it isn’t.
Over 25 years ago, I was a big fan of Max Headroom. It was a British-produced satirical science fiction television series that aired in the United States on ABC from March 1987 to May 1988. In the first episode, investigative TV news reporter Edison Carter uncovered the disturbing secret of a new TV technology in use by his own employers, Network 23, called “Blipverts.”
If you have 43 minutes and 18 seconds to spare, you can watch the episode at “Max Headroom drama series: "Blipverts". Shown on UK Channel 4 in 1987.”
Blipverts, a combination of blip, a brief sound, and adverts, the British abbreviation for advertisements, were new high-speed, concentrated, high-intensity television commercials lasting about three seconds. Their purpose was to prevent channel-switching during standard-length commercials. Unfortunately, these fictional high-intensity commercials also had the ability to overload people’s nervous system, causing them to explode.
But, unlike Max Headroom, we’re not 20 minutes into the future. We’re 25 years into the future. And the only thing that’s exploding these days is the number of customers downloading Vine from the iTunes App Store. Last week, Vine ranked #50 in the iTunes Charts for free apps.
According to Michael Sippey, Twitter’s VP of Product, “Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine (6 seconds or less) inspires creativity.” And there are lots of examples to demonstrate this.
One comes from General Electric, which uses Vine to say, “Innovation starts at the drawing board.”
— General Electric (@generalelectric) January 25, 2013
Another comes from the Gap, which uses Vine to say, “The labels tell the story of our 1969 jeans.”
— Gap (@Gap) February 12, 2013
And a third comes from Armani, which uses Vine to provide a sneak peak of “next fall’s trends from the Emporio Armani show.”
So, how do internet marketers and video content producers use Vine to create short looping videos which are longer than Blipverts, but shorter than 15-second TV spots?
Four Ways Brands Can Use Vine Social Video Effectively
1. Take Your Customers Behind the Scenes
Tomalin says, “As every brand knows, customers like to feel valued. Making a customer or potential customer feel special can go a really long way. Offering a behind-the-scenes look at future content can be a great way to do this.”
He adds, “We’ve already seen this teaser approach to content marketing work really well at tent-pole events like the Super Bowl and Olympics. Brands released 15-second clips of their big game ads across the social web to help generate and elongate brand conversation. Vine is an awesome vehicle for such content. Many brands are adopting this technique, from fashion brands (for examples, see below) to Premier League Football Clubs. Doritos even went as far as to Vine their packaging re-design launch.”
2. Run Product Demos
Tomalin says, “Vine is already used by a large number of fashion brands. From Armani to ASOS, they are all there sporting the latest season's swag online. The Vine format is a really great place for consumers to be able to see products in a more engaging environment.”
He adds, “We’ve seen handbag demos, spinning shoes and even full catwalk sessions, all powered by Vine. Where there is an audience, brands can quickly market products in an easily shareable format thanks to Twitter's Vine app.”
3. Run Competitions
Tomalin says, “As witnessed when Pinterest first launched, it didn't take long for brands to start using the platform to run competitions. Vine is no different.”
He adds, “To promote its pet insurance deals, Confused.com ran a competition in the build-up to February 20's 'Love Your Pet Day' urging its consumers to create videos of their pets, with £250 up for grabs for the 'most creative' clip. It was a massive success for the price comparison website, attracting a lot of attention from its target audience.”
4. Encourage Customer Interaction
Tomalin says, “We've seen similar content curation campaigns on web-based video clients like YouTube before. However, thanks to this powerful new app, it has never been simpler for brands to engage with their customers and help them feel valued by the brand. Not only does asking consumers to submit their own content help them feel part of the brand campaign, it also gives brands a stream of content that they can use in the current or future campaigns. With this approach, everyone’s a winner!”
He concludes, “A University in Wisconsin-Madison, along with a fancy bunch of social media supremos used the app to build an 'action video tapestry' by getting users to submit their footage from one of their sports events to a pre-determined hashtag. This is a great way for brands to get users to share their brand story effectively.”
And it’s worth noting that five weeks after the launch of Vine, the only other side effect that we’ve seen is the sudden appearance of some interesting Vine-related apps, including VinePeek and Vine Roulette.
So, maybe it will take another 25 years before we see “The world's first computer-generated TV host.” Then again, maybe we’ll see Max Headroom 20 minutes into the future.