On Vine, Brands Look To Deliver Their Message In Six Seconds

Play associated audio

Try telling a story in six seconds. With the social media app Vine, owned by Twitter, users are doing just that. They're creating everything from artistic pieces to random comedy sketches in six-second videos that loop endlessly.

Nicholas Megalis, a 24-year-old songwriter living in Brooklyn, recorded himself rapping as he pulled out a wallet full of gummy worms. The video titled "Gummy Money" has since become one of the most popular posts on the app, which launched in January.

"It's the most magical and ridiculous thing in my life," Megalis says.

Users simply press and hold their phone's screen to record and upload the videos to their account on the app.

"It's people sharing their lives and it's you entering somebody's mind through their phone. That's exciting to me," Megalis says. "That's why I do it."

With over 2 million followers, Megalis has become a famous user in the Vine community. Companies like Virgin Mobile see people with that kind of following as a potential venue for viral marketing. Virgin Mobile now collaborates with Viners to promote its brand through contests and product placement, says company marketing director Ron Faris.

"Vines, when you play them they auto repeat," he says. "Having someone sit through a Vine three times to see the beat of the message three times, that's frequency for us. That's worth something."

Faris doesn't anticipate Vines replacing TV and magazine ads anytime soon, but using the app is becoming a new way to reach a younger market.

"It's flirting," he says. "You're flirting with your prospect and it's as transient as the passing bus that has an ad for a summer blockbuster that captures your attention and then it leaves."

Don't underestimate these quick clips though. Some users are so in-demand they have their own agents, like 25-year-old Jordan Burt. He and his friend KC James are in Dana Point, Calif., finishing up their latest Vine.

James records himself walking in on Burt watching The Notebook on his laptop. After an hour of retakes, Burt uploads the recording to his page and feedback is instant.

"We're at eight minutes and it's at 1,023 'likes' so that's good," he says. "That means it's doing well."

For Burt, it's another successful Vine shared with his one million followers. But the app isn't all comedy.

In a quiet San Diego neighborhood, Jethro Ames is storyboarding his next video in a makeshift studio. He's sitting on the couch in his family room "and my studio is on my coffee table," he says.

He's an art director at a local ad agency, but Vines on the side. He's produced clips for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and GE Appliances. Now he's working on a stop-motion video for MTV inspired by a Snoop Lion song titled "No Guns Allowed." This one will take him all night, Ames says.

"I just don't sleep much," he says and laughs.

Ames only Vines after he puts his kids to bed, he says. But he doesn't seem to mind his new work schedule.

"It's nice to have the side money," he says. "I'm using this money to take the family to Hawaii."

Business is picking up this month too. Ames will Vine for a health and beauty brand and a Fortune 500 company.

"I know how to tell a story in six seconds. Brands are interested in people who can tell a good story within that format," he says.

Ron Faris from Virgin Mobile agrees. Stories shared on the app are what get people talking, he says.

"Vine is no different than Twitter, is no different from Facebook, is no different from Instagram. They're all water coolers," he says. "The more you're able to contribute to that community, the more that community will learn to consider your products and services especially if they've never heard of you before."

Of course, Vine isn't the perfect platform for all brands. Scroll through the popular Vines and you'll wonder how certain users have so many followers. Lots of videos are downright embarrassing. But some are as much art as they are advertisement. For those who have mastered the six-second story, they're just getting started.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


'Baskets' Takes Zach Galifianakis From French Clown School To The Rodeo Ring

The comic, who plays a rodeo clown in his new FX comedy series, says he is "not creeped out by clowns." Galifianakis is also the creator of the Emmy Award-winning web comedy series Between Two Ferns.

The Shocking Truth About America's Ethanol Law: It Doesn't Matter (For Now)

Ted Cruz doesn't like the law that requires the use of ethanol in gasoline. So what would happen if it was abolished? The surprising answer: not much, probably.

Chris Christie To Drop Out Of Republican Race For President

The New Jersey governor may simply have missed his window by declining to run in 2012. Christie threw everything at getting traction in Iowa and New Hampshire but fell short in both.

Twitter Tries A New Kind Of Timeline By Predicting What May Interest You

Twitter has struggled to attract new users. Its latest effort at rejuvenation is a new kind of timeline that predicts which older posts you might not want to miss and displays them on top.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.