What are the chances that you’re reading this on your phone? Statistically, quite high. I could research some figures, but let’s be straight with each other here: we don’t need figures to tell us that we love our phones.
As soon as a smartphone is purchased, the first thing we ask our friends and colleagues is ‘what apps should we download?’, because our phones are now an access to a world of information, games and, well... all content. The first few apps we download tend to be social, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; we then start branching out to ‘accessories’ such as ‘InstaSize’ and ‘Tweetdeck’. All our decisions then begin to fall into these worlds.
How many times have you been left waiting for a friend and then spent half an hour on Twitter, Instagram and, (if you’ve downloaded it) Vine? You no longer have to look into the distance, eyes welling up with tears, as people pass laughing happily with friends, cradling your now warm pint.
‘You have a friend in me’, your phone whispers, as you unlock it and start with checking your emails. Productive and business-like, you look up at everyone walking by, with pride. No emails. That’s fine, you find yourself now talking to random people on social media about the latest film you saw, soon culminating in a screaming competition about whether the dress is black and blue or white and gold.
The comfort you get from this device allows your mind to relax, because being disconnected is too lonely to comprehend.
What does this mean?
Having a conversation with this world of scared, lonely people is the most ridiculously clever thing you can do. Brands are so far disconnected from us as consumers, that we care so little about them and are frequently changing our minds about who we’re loyal to, based on price and accessibility.
Brands need to speak to us, on a very down-to-earth level. Having a relationship with a brand evokes trust. Developing brand personality via social media creates loyal consumers, who in turn will recommend you. There’s no better advertising than recommendations, as they're all based on trust. Personally, I would rather buy something that my friend tells me works, than Cheryl Cole. I don’t trust Cheryl Cole. Or miscellaneous actors. They’re the worst.
The beautiful thing about Vine is that a handful of brands noticed the gap they could fill very early on. So, when the app developed and gained more users it already had a good collection of adverts, camouflaged as ‘fun videos’.
These fun videos are condensed to a 6(.5) second limit, which then loops.
The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible - Arthur C. Clarke
I’m not throwing this quote in here to sound intellectual (although after my Cheryl Cole rant it can’t hurt). The limitations caused by Vine create in us the will to go beyond them. 6 seconds? Pah! I can tell you whole story in 6 seconds. This urge to use the limits to go above and beyond is one of the most exciting things about the platform. From videos starring celebrities to animations, graphics and comedy,brands can speak directly to their consumers, and consumers love it. They love how creative brands are. They love how funny they are. Brands now remind you of that friend you need to get back in contact with.
Cost Effective Advertising
Investing in advertising is getting more and more expensive. It’s believed that brands need celebrities and high production values to catch the public’s attention. The truth is that this further disconnects people from the brand. Celebrities, unfortunately, are what we’ve created to replace our deities, so putting God-like creatures in your advertising makes the vision you’re trying to sell unachievable. High production values also create a surreal world of beauty. Merely looking out the window instantly destroys that, as we watch poor souls throw up outside our doorstep before stumbling home at closing time.
What brands need are low production values, and a simple message:
‘We get it. We’re not all rich. We’re not all stupid. Here, watch this. It’s clever and fun. Now, TALK TO US’.
Talk to us. A conversation is free, and production costs are considerably lower for this type of engagement.
Say you produce a TV ad, which people watch and instantly forget because they were too busy looking on their phones during the ad break. Now say you created a Vine, with a hash tag, and urged your loyal consumer fan base to create their own videos, using that very same hash tag. You’d then have inspired a series of User Generated Content. Free advertising, essentially.
And what if you paid someone who has 20 million followers to use your hash tag and create an advert for you? Now all their followers know about your campaign andyour idea. And now they all want to take part.
Advertising has never been so much fun for consumers.