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

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

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

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now to apps that require a little more coordination - apps like Facebook's Instagram, which now offers a video option. This week, the founders of YouTube launched their own short video app called Mixed Bit. Both those apps are meant to compete with Twitter's Vine. Its users are creating everything from artistic pieces to comedy sketches that are only six seconds long.

In this report, NPR's Daniel Hajek explains how businesses are turning to it to market to market products.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GUMMY MONEY")

NICHOLAS MEGALIS: (Rapping) Yo, my name is Nicholas, and this is ridiculous. Got mad gummy money, and it is deliciousness...

DANIEL HAJEK, BYLINE: If you haven't seen this video yet, just picture a close-up on a guy with a scruffy mustache and long hair rapping as he pulls out a wallet full of gummy worms.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GUMMY MONEY")

MEGALIS: (Rapping) Got mad gummy money and it is deliciousness.

HAJEK: His name is Nicholas Megalis, a 24-year-old songwriter in Brooklyn. And that is one of the most popular posts on the app, Vine, launched in January.

MEGALIS: It's the most magical and ridiculous thing in my life.

HAJEK: With Vine, users like Megalis create six-second videos that loop endlessly. Just press and hold your phone's screen to record and upload to your page.

MEGALIS: It's people sharing their lives. And it's you entering somebody's mind through their phone. That's exciting to me. That's why I do it.

HAJEK: And he does it for his two million followers. Companies like Virgin Mobile see people with that kind of following as a potential venue for viral marketing. The company's marketing director, Ron Faris, says Virgin Mobile now collaborates with Viners to promote its brand through contests and product placement.

RON FARIS: Vines, when you play them, they auto repeat. 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.

HAJEK: Faris says Vines won't replace TV and magazine ads, but using the app is a new way to reach a younger market.

FARIS: It's flirting. You, you know, 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.

(SOUNDBITE OF VINE AD)

JORDAN BURT: Then you chase me into my room, then you walk in on me...

KC JAMES: And then I go to my room on my...

BURT: And then you...

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

(SOUNDBITE OF VINE AD)

BURT: I can explain.

JAMES: No, thanks.

BURT: I can explain.

JAMES: No thanks.

BURT: Is that it? I think that's it.

HAJEK: Burt uploads it to his page and feedback is instant.

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

HAJEK: Another successful Vine shared with his one million followers. But the app isn't all comedy.

JETHRO AMES: Demonstrations about gun violence. It'll lead to a message, No Guns Allowed.

HAJEK: In a quiet San Diego neighborhood, Jethro Ames is storyboarding his next video in a make-shift studio.

AMES: In my family room, sitting on my couch and my studio is on my coffee table.

HAJEK: He's an art director at a local ad agency but does this on the side. He's made Vines for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, GE Appliances, and tonight he's pulling an all-nighter on one for MTV.

AMES: I just don't sleep much.

(LAUGHTER)

HAJEK: Ames says he only Vines late at night after he puts his kids to bed. But he doesn't seem to mind his new work schedule.

AMES: Nice to have the side money. You know, I'm using this money to take the family to Hawaii, which is a nice trip.

HAJEK: And he has more jobs lined up. This month he'll Vine for a health and beauty brand and a Fortune 500 company.

AMES: I know how to tell a story in six seconds. Brands are interested in people who can tell a good story within that format.

FARIS: Vine is no different than Twitter. It's no different from Facebook. It's no different from Instagram. They're all water coolers.

HAJEK: Ron Faris from Virgin Mobile says that's why it works. Stories shared on Vine are what get people talking.

FARIS: 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.

HAJEK: 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.

Daniel Hajek, NPR News.

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