Six-Second Classics: When Dressing Up A Tube Of Lip Balm Like Hester Prynne Amazingly Turns Out To Be A Good Idea
Every week, we want to highlight an example of a brand that’s telling amazing stories. This week, it’s Burt’s Bees and their Six-Second Classics.
Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to tell a six-word story; his brilliant response, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” is the stuff of literary legend. But what about the six-second story? That’s the challenge Vine poses to brands.
Burt’s Bees has zealously accepted that challenge with their first Vine campaign, “Six-Second Classics,” that adapts classic fiction like Gulliver’s Travels, Moby Dick, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and The Metamorphosis to the video platform.
In the films, Burt’s Bees’ line of “classic” products are dressed in costumes designed by renown “costumista” Elie Rossetti-Serraino; as you can imagine, the most difficult part of getting a tube of lip balm to portray Hester Prynne is keeping it from falling down. The second-most difficult part is putting a clever spin on the oft-produced source material, but Burt’s Bees succeeds. In the Scarlett Letter adaptation, for example, the angry crowd of Salemites viciously boo the heroine, and she issues a perfectly mordant rebuttal. “So judgmental,” she groans in a manner relatable to any Millennial.
In total, ten stop animation films were created for the campaign, with a few recently having been released for Halloween. Thus far, the Six-Second Classics have received approximately 2,000 likes and 550 shares on Vine.
“Our products have not really changed in 19 years,” said Melissa Sowry, Digital Content and Social Media Global Marketing Manager with Burt’s Bees. “And now, we’re bringing them to life in one of the newest forms. There’s an interesting juxtaposition there.”
And while Vine is where the “Six-Second Classics” were born, Burt’s Bees has begun leveraging the films across more of their distribution channels. “We’ve built out a whole section of our website that will feature theSix-Second Classics,” said Sowry. “We’re trying to connect and share it throughout our entire social network.”
So how did Burt’s Bees come to take on such a literary content challenge?
“It all started with Baldwin’s creative team,” she asserted. “They really captured the brand voice and personality in a great way.”
“Burt’s Bees wanted to create a little moment of delight with this Six-Second Classics campaign,” said David Baldwin, Co-Founder Lead Guitar at Baldwin&, the creative agency that created the campaign. “We simply celebrated time-tested classics by creating characters out of a time-tested product. We’re at our best when we start with the products.”
“And now, we’re bringing them to life in one of the newest forms. There’s an interesting juxtaposition there.”
“We’ve tried to structure ourselves around really great content and storytelling. When we started I thought: ‘do we have to be different, or can we just try to be good?'”
Ultimately, Baldwin& chose both. That was in part thanks to a decision to partner with Art Director Jethro Ames — the man Digiday has boldly crowned “the Scorcese of Vine.“
“We were looking at the Vine directors that we felt were making the best work, and [Ames] was at the top of the list,” Baldwin said. “He’s a former advertising designer, so he understands conceptual thinking and has a great eye.”
“With Vine, it’s only six seconds, and you can easily scroll to the next one,” Ames told Digiday. “But if it’s really good, users will watch it over and over again, and that’s really powerful for a brand message.”
For Burt’s Bees, the timelessness of the content in its “Six-Second Classics” is one of the big advantages of the campaign. Only the form needs to be current; spoofing literary classics with talking lip balm will always be in style.
The other big plus: someone’s daughter will be getting a pretty awesome miniature replica of Salem, Massachusetts for Christmas.
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