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Six seconds of fame

Does Twitter app Vine have enough traction to be a permanent part of the marketing mix?

Social media app Vine was embraced by retailers when it launched before New York Fashion Week just over a year ago, but can it maintain its vigour? 

The Twitter-owned app, which allows users to create six-second video clips, has been used mainly by retailers during the seasonal, international fashion weeks. iProspect chief client and marketing officer Nishma Robb says: “As always, Topshop and Burberry led the way. However, as London Fashion Week came to an end the content being produced for the channel has gone into a decline. It will be interesting to see if this picks back up during LFW.”

However, other brands, including Urban Outfitters, Marc Jacobs, French Connection and Asos, have used Vine for more innovative campaigns. Martin Newman, founder and chief executive of Practicology, says: “Urban Outfitters does something different by uploading quirky Vines that aren’t necessarily directly connected to fashion, but hint at the hipster lifestyles of its target audience.

One of the latest on its Twitter feed promotes juicing and being healthy in January, for example.”

“Asos’s use of the app has been interesting,” says Newman, “as it has encouraged customers to upload footage of themselves opening Asos packages - it’s reminiscent of the videos that appear on YouTube of Apple fans unboxing iPads and iPhones on the day a new model goes on sale.”

Many retailers are still questioning the potential return on investment of Vine, with some citing the app as a bit of fun rather than a constructive tool in marketing campaigns.

But Robb says: “Retailers should be using Vine if it fits within their strategy. That said, being on a platform like this opens up a brand’s audience and inspires consumers to create their own Vine using product they have from the brand. Creatively, the six-second constraint means brands have to focus on getting their message landed quickly, so retailers should look to hone their creative to showcase their products in this short window of opportunity.”

The six-second constraint will also appeal to consumers who increasingly want messages quickly and on the move.

The playful element could also be seen as a plus for a brand that wants to align its image with a new, fun, innovative technology. 

One downfall is Vine’s lack of analytics, which makes it a challenge for retailers to prove the success of any campaign using it.

Newman believes retailers using video should test Vine. “Vine videos produced by brands get shared four times more than other branded videos online, according to US technology firm Unruly Media,” he says. “So it’s clearly worth investing some time in testing different types of content to see if it resonates with customers.”

Newman is confident Vine is more than just a fad. He says: “New apps and tools will always appear, and others may try to create something similar to Vine with new or different functionality. But the basic idea of creating very short video clips seems to be here to stay: it’s estimated that five Vines are shared every second on Twitter. Social media has quickly moved beyond Facebook and Twitter, and brands - particularly youth brands - need to be using the same channels as their customers.”

Robb agrees that, while Vine is not for every brand, it is starting to build some traction. She says: “At the moment the platform is certainly on an upward curve and can play a nice supporting role in terms of bringing customers closer to a brand.”

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