Instagram Video: The Love Child of YouTube, Vine, and Lil Jon

Branded web series—and serialized storytelling—isn’t just for Hulu and YouTube anymore. Companies are increasingly choosing to create short, bite-sized series. This has already become a noticeable trend on Vine, where companies like Burt’s Bees are making teensy, hilarious branded videos. (The story of Julius Cesar is way more funny when it’s told in only six seconds and with tubes of moisturizer.)

Burt’s Bees hilarious branded videos:

Trident takes another approach by featuring famous Vine-ers in their videos:

Adidas Originals and Champs Sports’ Insta Stories

Adidas Originals and Champs Sports are also getting into the short story game, but they’re not using Vine. Instead, they’ve launched a video series on Instagram targeting high school varsity athletes called Adicolor TV. If you’re not exactly sure what that looks like, it pretty much means professional athletes dancing, Lil John speaking his own personal language, and trippy visuals. The series of videos is an intriguing experiment in combining the frenetic aesthetic and appeal of Vine with the type of serialized storytelling usually found on YouTube. Behold:

Some of Champs’ other videos are, let’s just say, a little bit off the beaten path stylistically. They’re even more jumpy than Vine, whose signature quality is its rapid jump cuts:

Check out the similarities between the Vine video above and Champs’ clip from Instagram:

With the magic of editing and strobe effects, Champs Sports manages to make you feel like you’ve been transported to a club. And you’re hallucinating. And Lil John is there. Hey, it’s what the kids are into these days!

Each episode tops out at 15 seconds, which, let’s be honest, is ideal. Teenagers aren’t exactly famed for their long attention spans. Or, as Adidas Style Director Kelly Olmstead puts it: “We know that high school kids are interested in bite size and easy-to-understand stories.”

The available research seems to back this up. As an Elon University study of teens and 20-somethings today reports:

“Many of the experts surveyed by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project predicted this generation will be good at connecting, collaborating, and working quickly, they also expect their characteristics to include a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes and a lack of patience and deep-thinking ability due to what one referred to as “fast-twitch wiring.”

Danah Boyd of Microsoft Research went as far as to say, “There is no doubt that brains are being rewired” by the evolving nature of digital information networks.

With the explosion of micro-content video platforms like Instagram and Vine, that may actually be welcome news to content marketers. “The desire for instantaneous content should not be seen as a lack of patience or short attention span but as a liberation from timetables set previously by others,” said David Saer, a foresight researcher for Fast Future, in the report. “It’s simply a matter of demanding information and technology to suit the timetable of the individual, an overarching trend throughout human history.”

As a result, companies have to act fast in order to grab their audience.

And some are—for good reason. Fifty-one percent of the high school class of 2014 uses Instagram. In addition, 23 percent of teens consider Instagram their favorite social network. That’s not bad for an app that only started four years ago.

Hollister is already on its Insta game, releasing 15-second clips of musicians performing at poolside parties sponsored by the store:

Craig Brommer, Hollister’s SVP of marketing, said that Instagram is “one of the best visual platforms for social.” With 73 million people posting pictures every day and the photo-sharing app growing 25 percent in the past year, it’s hard to argue with that analysis.

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