DeVine Interventions

  • by October 16, 2013
Let’s talk about Vines. Not the sub-Twizzler variety of licorice candy sold in bulk at warehouse stores -- although they too are delicious, in an underdoggish, Hydrox vs. Oreo way.  Nope, I mean Vine, the year-old, six-second video-clip-sharing system now owned by Twitter. The cliplets (clipetitos?) are already so popular online that they seem to have existed for far more than a year. 

Indeed, Vines are so adaptive to the Web -- and easy to make, view, and ingest -- that they’re the best thing to happen to advertising since “Mad Men.” Their very brevity presents the perfect packaging system for ads in general in our fast-paced, ADD-addled world.

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 6.5 seconds,” the founders of Vine should have said, but never did. (Vine actually added the half-second to make the video endings less abrupt.) Indeed, Warhol’s then subversive 15-minute declaration of time and fame is by now hopelessly out of date. I mean, 15 minutes -- talk about a never-ending hell.



For that matter, these days with our severely shrunken attention spans, many advertisers have proven that 30 seconds can be excruciatingly long and boring.

I’m only half kidding. But in the same way that Twitter’s 140-character limit presents an artificial barrier that makes the writer rise to the occasion, with prose that is necessarily more stripped down and economical (and occasionally even haiku-like), so can the brevity of the Vine seem mesmerizing, like visual poetry.

It’s all about concealing complexity in the process for non-filmmakers. The app was first available only on Apple, but it’s been on Android for the last three months. It’s designed to that by the time you finish shooting (with the press of a finger), the app has finished processing the clip. The audio is gently cross-faded to avoid loud pops or bursts of abrasive sound. You can create a stop-motion effect by tapping. But once you begin, you have to go the whole, entire six seconds. (The creators tested from four to 10 seconds, and decided six was the sweet spot.)

So you get gentle results, like the Air BnB campaign that shows the journey of a page of paper, which lands in different homes and different countries just like a traveler. (Equally mesmerizing is the ability to loop, so that the images repeat, or aggregate separate videos, as with this campaign.)

Many advertisers have used Vines well. The latest example is Burt’s Bees, which made its videos both for entertainment and to get the idea of “The Classics” across, promoting BB’s classic products. So there are, among others, “Little Women” and “Gulliver's Travels” six-second classics inultra-miniaturized, just delightfully dumb tweet versions -- a not-quite-Masterpiece Theater that shows the product without aggressive selling.

Vines can be lighter, funnier, and more experimental than regular ads -- far more entertaining by dint of communicating in an immediate, more universal  visual language (especially for kids, watching on smartphones.)  It’s also been proven that posts that include a picture or video attached increase interaction with consumers.

I’m not sure how Vines can work for journalism, although they can provide a powerful, visceral corollary to the written word.

But in the land of the tweet, the Vine is now king. And, yeah, the candy Vine has made a Vine about Vine.

1 comment about "DeVine Interventions".
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  1. Mark Hornung from Bernard Hodes Group, October 18, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.

    When Vine first appeared I could not help but remember the "blipverts" foretold by Anthony Burgess in "Clockwork Orange." Waiting for the droogs to start appearing en masse. Not that Vine or Twitter for that matter are dystopian... unless one is a fan of Faulkner.

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