Vine received mentions on the CEM blog regarding its emerging role in news, music marketing, and politics. Over a year later, this micro-video app launched a desktop site, celebrated its first birthday, and gained millions of new individual and commercial customers.

An Overview of the Brief (Yet Significant) Rise of Vine

In fewer than two years, the Twitter Vine application has made a remarkable splash in the world of viral video and virtual marketing. The app was created by Rus Yusupov, Dom Hofmann, and Colin Kroll in June 2012. Twitter purchased Vine for $30 million in October 2012 and launched it on January 24, 2013. Since its debut, it only took a few months for Vine to become the most popular video sharing application on the market.

“Vine” is short for “vignette,” which describes a short scene that makes a strong impression.

Vine’s in-app camera records short video clips no longer than six seconds. Users must touch the screen to film, and release to pause filming. It takes some getting used to, but with practice and a little creativity users can generate unique and compelling videos. Vine is also playing a major role in the reemergence of stop animation. In 2013, Time magazine listed Vine as one of the 50 Best Android Applications, and every second, five Twitter users post a Tweet featuring a Vine.

The Elements of an Impactful Vine

Millions of Vines currently flood the internet, so to make an impression on audiences, brands need to bring their “A game” to marketing their Vine production. The components that make up a successful Vine include:

  • Quality production. No one wants to waste time watching a poorly shot video, even if it only lasts six seconds. Whether you shoot a continuous video or employ clever stop-animation techniques (like GE’s recent creation below), make sure the picture and audio are clear and the editing is seamless.

    • Concise messaging. You only have a few seconds, so use them wisely. Now is not the time to ramble on about obscure statistics regarding your product or industry, or to go into any type of detail. The goal is to present a short, simple message that communicates a salient point about your brand.
    • Humor. Because of their “kamikaze” nature, Vines are effective comedy tools. Using a few short words or images, savvy Vine makers can set up and deliver a punchline before viewers realize what’s happening. Luckily, they can watch it again and again until they get the joke (before inevitably sharing it with others).
    • Surprise. Regardless of whether you choose to go with a funny or more touching tone, a Vine with the highest viral potential will incorporate the unexpected. Whether through unconventional uses of materials, seemingly disparate pairings of individuals and locations, or sudden twists at the end, consider how you might bring the element of surprise into your marketing Vine.
    • Shareability. Vine is a “community platform,” and the most effective creations reflect its social nature. The messaging in a Vine should start a conversation among diverse groups of people, whether it targets a niche audience or a more universal one.

Effectively Harnessing the Power of the Vine

Once companies have created their branded Vines, they employ various methods to make sure they’re presented before the widest array of viewers. Some techniques for disseminating your Vine far and wide include:

    • Host a Vine contest. Announcing a user-created Vine competition is a clever way to raise awareness about your company while flooding your inbox with the best efforts of your most devoted fans. You can include the winning Vines in your next marketing campaign.

A hint for maximizing the number and quality of entrants: Offer the coolest prize you can imagine (or afford). While people love to show off their creative skills, providing a strong incentive doesn’t hurt.

    • Don’t forget the hashtags. Without carefully-chosen hashtags, your Vine marketing will likely be lost in a sea of anonymity. Select words or phrases related to your brand or Vine that are also trending on social media.
    • Spread through other social media. Use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites to share your Vine marketing. It will reach more users and have a better chance of achieving viral status.
    • Use Vines in commercials. Use one Vine or combine multiple related Vines to create a web- or television-based commercial. The short length and concise messaging will make a big impact on audiences.

Dunkin Donuts was the first company to create a television advertisement consisting of a single Vine, and to great effect:

Companies Getting Vines Right

Recently, several brands have released brilliant marketing Vines that incorporate some or all of the above elements, along with a je ne sais quoi that takes an advertisement from “good” to “great.” These companies include:

      • Burberry. This stunning time-lapse Vine takes viewers across the globe from London to Shanghai, from sunrise to sunset. Not only is it an impressive example of the potential scope of one Vine-stallation; it also subtly communicates the global nature of the brand.

    • Oreo. Capitalizing on the meteoric success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the beloved cookie company has a little bit of fun juxtaposing the show’s grandiose nature with the simple pleasure of dunking an Oreo in milk.
        • Gap. A perfect example of how companies can leverage user-created Vines, this re-tweeted creation appeals to audiences’ love of kids and superheroes. How could they lose?

As you consider adding Vines to your company’s marketing repertoire, remember to have fun, stay true to your brand, and try to start a conversation with your audience. By interacting effectively via this latest social platform, your brand will stay fun, fresh, and relevant.

How can branded Vines grow your company’s marketing potential?