Described by some as “Instagram for video”, the popular video sharing app Vine made it into the big leagues this week, as Hollywood director James Mangold selected it to be the platform on which to release a six second teaser trailer for new comic book blockbuster “The Wolverine”.
The clip contained approximately zero plot details, and was clearly designed more to pique interest prior to the release of the upcoming full length trailer than to give any real insight into the content of the film. And while I have my questions about just how necessary a teaser trailer for a trailer is, Mangold’s use of Vine does bring some of the apps inherent branding benefits to the fore.
The Wolverine character has a pre-established fan base developed over four previous X-Men films, so it is arguable that much of the film’s marketing is intended to attract cinema-goers who might not necessarily pay to watch two hours of a man with metal claws rampage through Tokyo. The six second teaser is short enough to tempt newcomers with no prior interest to take a look. After all, six seconds of your life is no investment at all, and you might just see something you like.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that a broad range of big brands, from Urban Outfitters to Marmite, have jumped on the Vine bandwagon. The short videos are cheap enough to make; after all, how many CGI effects can you realistically fit into six seconds of footage? And crucially, as Vine is a native Twitter product, videos are fully integrated into tweets, meaning they can be viewed quickly and easily, without users having to navigate away to another site (something which has irked fans of Instagram since its acquisition by Facebook).
Speaking to the BBC earlier this year, Brand Republic editor Gordan MacMillan stated: “There was some degree of scepticism about how useful Vine would be to advertisers… People joked now we need a six second ad strategy. But seeing some of the early vines you can see how creative they are.”
Marketers have had a while to hone their approach to getting their message across in short windows – just think about those ads that pop up before YouTube videos. They run for up to thirty seconds, but the majority of viewers click ‘Skip’ after the first five. What is both so appealing and so challenging about Vine is the question of how to succinctly express thirty seconds’ of brand storytelling into that six second window.
And as has come to be expected, digital agencies are now all hoping they will be the first to achieve a viral Vine campaign. Says MacMillan: “The better made stuff, even in six seconds, will have the potential to spread.”