When rebrands go wrong

(And how to avoid the pitfalls)

How brands can climb to the top of Vine

Brands and consumers have been quick to trial Twitter’s standalone sharing app Vine in the week since its launch as they look to boost the reach of their six-second point-and-shoot videos while excitement around the new service means it continues to trend on the social network.


Free iOS app Vine, which allows users to share short GIF-style video clips on the service’s own news feed and with other social networks, launched on 24 January. It was already the tenth most downloaded free iOS app in the UK at the time of writing (29 January), according to analytics service App Annie.

UK brands including Asos, Southampton FC, Tate, Betfair and Topshop are amongst the companies that have experimented with the app to date. However, many of the use cases so far - which have included stop-gap animation, speed drawing or simple six-second shots - have been one-offs and the creative is less slick than their other above the line creative output.

Animal welfare charity Dogs Trust has posted two Vine videos to date and is monitoring their effectiveness via a call to action text donation code in one video and a link to a digital job ad in another.

Laurier Nicas Alder, the charity’s digital marketing officer, says Dogs Trust wanted to post its message out while people were still talking about the app in its early days but recognises while its brand had the opportunity to be flexible, many others will need to take time to talk about how they will work Vine into their wider social media strategies.

As well as some early PR for being a front-runner, an advantage for brands trialling Vine now is that there are no limitations on editing and post-production that exist when producing other video because the film is shot inside the app, according to Martin Belam, founder of digital consultancy Emblem and former user experience lead at The Guardian.

He adds: “It should be impossible to blow a £50,000 budget on a viral that doesn’t actually go viral. The fact that it had to be done in-app lends an authenticity to it because the brand has access to exactly the same technology as the consumer.”

Vine adds an extra layer of storytelling to Twitter, which previous 140-character tweets sometimes restricts. Kristin Brewe, chair of the IAB’s social media council warns individuals will likely be very protective of this highly shared community.

“[Vine users and Twitter followers] would likely welcome something from a brand that spoke to their interests, but not so much a cutaway of a TV ad focusing on the last seconds of call-to-action,” she adds.

Paul Armstrong, head of social at Mindshare, it will not be long before creative shops even start working on mini episodic content - although he advises brands, as with all new services, to carefully review the terms of service, objectives and copyright law before launching straight into Vine campaigns.

Vine also offers an opportunity to extend user engagement on Twitter into user generated content (UGC). Birmingham City FC created a Vine on 25 January featuring many of its players answering a question and invited its followers to tweet what they thought the question was, for example.

Amy Kean, head of consumer innovation at Havas Media, says Vine could give UGC a revival: “Vine should make UGC a lot more appealing and accessible. In the past, the idea of shooting your own video and going to the trouble of uploading it on a dedicated website - like P&G brand Pantene’s “upload your swoosh” - seemed so laborious and often content you upload to a Facebook app can get easily lost.”

Early adopter brands did face being associated - if only by juxtaposition - with more explicit user generated content however, as Vine quickly became a hub for pornographic videos.

It has caused embarrassment for Twitter which was forced to apologise to users on 28 January after a hardcore video, tagged #porn and #nsfwvine, appeared as an “editor’s pick” on its homepage.

The influx of x-rated clips prompted Twitter to go on to ban searches for explicit content on the app and deleting users who posted pornographic content on the all-ages service.

Readers' comments (3)

  • As with any new opportunity for marketers, this will only be interesting if the objectives and desired result is clear upfront.

    It then becomes an exciting creative challenge to deliver 6 seconds of compelling, shareworthy brandcandy.

    Can't wait to see this used effectively by brands and consumers saying they want more!

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  • I love the idea of Vine and really think it will add-value to Tweets and really does mean that marketers can be more creative with their Twitter messaging. However, I am more than a little bit irked that it is not available for Android and haven't heard any information relating to if or when this will happen.

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  • Interesting article and yes we agree in most cases the creative is less slick and it is going to take time to work Vine into marketing strategies however we are enjoying viewing many of the 'First Vines' that are being created as there is a degree of honesty to them.

    It is going to be really interesting to see where the hospitality industry goes with this App, talks of Vine Menus and so on are first tier but we are looking forward to seeing some exciting unique and challenging exploitation.

    We made our first Vine today with the story that our hotel has both history dating back to the 1800's and an appetite for embracing new technology (http://vine.co/v/bJ9qXliuZA7).

    We are looking forward to developing more ideas and, of course, a more polished end result!

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