On Wednesday night, MRY’s flatiron office hosted a woman in crab pincers, a man in a Chewbacca mask, a Play-Doh Miley Cyrus, and a parkour stuntman. Brand marketers mingled, phones in hand. An interviewer asked the crab woman, “Do you think Vine is a fad?” She answered in a squeaky voice, “No, Vine is forever.”
These characters weren’t random people that MRY kidnapped from Times Square to spice things up. Instead, they were there to teach brands and agencies how to master Vine, the hot new social network that shares videos of six seconds or less. Though some brands are gamely giving it a go, no one has quite mastered Vine as a storytelling platform.
“If you look at what Stacey Nightmare has done with her character, it makes you wonder what Wieden would’ve done with the Old Spice guy if the platform launched in 2010.”
Brands can learn from popular Viners because, as David Berkowitz, CMO of MRY, wrote in AdAge, every “really good Vine creator has his or her own fingerprint.” Stacey Nightmare, the crab person in question, is immediately identifiable. So is Nicholas Migalis’ shaggy hair and trademark food raps. Because Vine videos are limited to six seconds, you have to make a sudden impact. Here’s a quick lesson from Stacey Nightmare.
So far, instead of crafting characters, most brands have utilized Vine’s stop-motion capabilities. For example, photographer and Viner Meagan Cignoli spent her fashion week taking stop-motion footage backstage and on the runway for brands. She created a campaign for Kenneth Cole that blended a dozen models into a single runway strut and helped show off Tommy Hilfiger’s spring collection by bringing their outfits to life.
Anthony Ciolino, MRY copywriter and the Vine-a-Thon organizer, wishes brands would experiment more. “[M]ost of those stop-motions are beautiful — long live Queen Cignoli! — but the platform itself is rich to build a character or an idea,” he said. “If you look at what Stacey Nightmare has done with her character, it makes you wonder what Wieden would’ve done with the Old Spice guy if the platform launched in 2010.”
The most viewed Vines are those that embrace their protagonist’s weirdness. Vine isn’t Instagram, where it’s all about visual aesthetics. On Vine, Snoop Dogg blows smoke into another man’s nostrils, Will Sasso barfs a lemon, and the crowd goes wild. Because the platform is still very new, Vine best-practices are still being defined. But so far, the easiest path to success is character commitment and utter ridiculousness. The most successful brands will be the ones that embrace that reality.