Heard it through the grape Vine? Probably not.

By Sarah Little

Adventure Projects Manager

One of the best things about social media, and the different platforms within, is its ability to create communities of people with shared interests, knowledge and opinions.

We’ve all seen the Twitter armies of Beliebers, the raw power of the Humans of New York Facebook page and the smaller-scale creativity of Instagram’s @Yoyoha led #100CoffeeCups, but there’s a social media platform out there that surpasses them all in the ability to make strangers feel like close friends. And it takes only six seconds of your time.

Vine. A law unto itself with funny phrases, clips and songs quickly going viral in what can only be described as a private joke for those in the know. What would you say if I said ‘what’s 9+10’ to you? What flew around your room? What insult comes after, ‘you’re not my dad!’??

21, a potato, and ‘ugly ass noodle-head’, of course.

Unlike Reddit and the like, Vine depends on six-second videos looped on repeat and has built a portfolio of superstars who, beyond the platform, are only just breaking the surface of mainstream.

Popular ‘Viners’ are lauded as celebrities on the platform with fans making their own montages, reaction pieces and #remakes whenever they post. Everyone knows the top Viners in each category – though singing and comedy are the only ones worth their six seconds – and top Viners appear together in each other’s posts as though California has been breeding a generation of six-second videographers. It’s high school, with the popular kids in the spotlight and trends spreading like wild-fire. BBC Radio One, self-proclaimed bastion of youth culture, had clearly no real idea who 16 year-old Shawn Mendes was when interviewed on their Breakfast show, yet his singing vines have gained him 3.9 million followers and a whopping 362 million loops. And that doesn’t even touch on Lele Pons, Miami-born teenage comedienne, with her vine-leading 7.4 million followers and over 4 BILLION, with a B, loops. In any capacity, that’s a valuable number of impressions.

So how do you break into such a ‘you-had-to-be-there’, in-joke inundated group of millions? As a marketer is Vine a challenge, or an opportunity?

I think it can be agreed that point-blank advertising is never going to work here. Even semi-subtle attempts at incorporating a message into a vine-appropriate piece fall flat when your audience looks at you like a teacher who’s come to the party. It’s a delicate balance of recognising you’re not like the rest in the group, and being totally cool with that. Being the new kid in school and having to learn how things work, but cracking your own jokes in the playground.

Or do what Budweiser does and hand out puppies to anyone who’ll write #ad on their vine. Whatever works, I guess.