Vine Series: Ian Padgham Tells Us Why Vine Is A Golden Opportunity For A Brand Not To Be A Brand

Say Hello To The Man Who Chucked In The Towel At Twitter HQ To Create Awesome Vines, With A 6-Inch Wooden Man

It’s hard to read any well-informed articles about Vine that doesn’t mention Origiful (a.k.a. Ian Padgham) or his content. Fast approaching 300,000 followers, Twitter’s former Head Of Video is one of the biggest non-celeb content creators out there. When you see what he’s producing, it’s easy to see why. 

Padgham was a super early adopter of the platform. In fact, he started the day before everyone else, thanks to his previous position at Twitter. However, don’t be fooled into thinking a 24-hour’s head-start is the secret behind his Vine success.

As he jumps from Twitter to Vine, we got Origiful away from his camera long enough to talk about creativity, branding and the “unending waterfall of bad ass” that is Vine.

1. Your Content Is Hugely Popular On Vine, But What Do You Believe Makes Contagious Vine Content? Is There A Secret Formula To Success?

There is a formula, but if I told you then Jerome Jarre and Nicholas Megalis would feed me to an army of awkward gummy bears.

But while I can’t tell you the formula, you can definitely see some of the trends. For example, positivity, quirkiness, and humor are major themes in the more popular Vine accounts. Whereas other platforms speak to highly-produced/polished content, Vine has found a sweet spot in the world of the delightfully unexpected.

The best videos make you hold your breath for 5 seconds in anticipation of that last-second pay-off that makes you go, “What the heck!”, which then makes you watch it again 20 more times.

2. There Are Lots Of Brands Using The Platform Now. How Do You Think Brands Can Better Use Vine?

Hire me 🙂 No, just kidding.

I think the secret is to use Vine as a golden opportunity to NOT be a brand. Like I mentioned, it seems to be all about quirkiness and fun. So many brands are set in their ways, producing slick, precise and on-brand messaging. That will not work on Vine. Go out there and use the silliness of the platform to do something that livens up your image. Have a bit of fun.

3. If You Could Suggest One New Feature For Vine, What Would It Be And Why?

I would like a “Who to Follow” section, like on Twitter. Only I would call it “Whom to Follow” (if you have any questions, ask @buckhouse).

Also, I would love to have audio options. I don’t want there to be any more video improvements. Anything more will risk taking away the awesome weirdness and simplicity of the application. But I do think that being able to add in another audio track would be amazing. I want to dub my Woodman videos!

4. Instagram Just Released An Option For Users To Upload Content From Their Camera Roll. Do you think this is a good idea? Should Vine replicate?

I remember my best friend got a Game Genie for his Nintendo console when we were kids (the Game Genie essentially hacked video games and gave you extra lives or infinite weapons). We were so pumped – the kind of pumped that only nerdy little 5th graders can understand – until we finally played the games.

Granted, certain games were still fun, but for the most part we just lost interest super fast. The Game Genie had taken away what was at the core of the fun: the challenge. I think the human mind thrives when challenged but if we are given too many shortcuts, we lose interest and we stop thinking creatively. At the heart of what makes Vine a superior artistic platform in my opinion, is that its limitations engender incredibly human and unique ways of playing the game.

5. What’s The longest It’s Ever Taken You To Complete A Single Vine?

217 days and counting. Been working on one since day 1 in the App Store… brace yourself 🙂

6. Who If Anyone Are Your Vine Inspirations?

There are so many. I hold a special place in my heart for @Pinot since I got to hang out with him in London. He is a charming family man. He’s incredibly talented, but he’s also so down-to-earth and positive.

And there are so many other awesome people on Vine, too – from famous people like Adam Goldbergto Vine celebs like Megalis/Jarre/Furlan/Meekins to creative geniuses like Cignoli/McHone/Becker … it’s just an unending waterfall of badass.

7. Do You Think Vine And Instagram Video Appeal To Different User Bases?

No, I think they appeal to the exact same user base. HOWEVER, I think the important follow-up question is: “Do they compete for the same artistic/social/emotional attention space of that user base?”.

In the end it’s not about fighting over the same users – we are all (potential) users. It’s about whether you’re providing the same service, and I don’t think they are.

Vine fulfills a need for humor, amusement, delight, and creativity. Instagram is where I go for beauty, inspiration, and culture/fashion. It’s also much more of a personal network (at least the way I use Instagram). I see much more of an overlap between the service Instagram video could potentially provide and what YouTube does. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where the real battles eventually play out.

8. What’s Better For Storytelling: 6 Or 15 Seconds?

c) None of the above!

People talk about Vine’s 6 seconds, but I have a theory that the average time spent watching a Vine is actually 18 seconds. That’s because it’s not a one-off viewer experience with loops – it’s something that often gets better as you watch it again and again.

So I think the answer is that they are very different storytelling structures. Instagram’s linear 15 seconds makes for a traditional narrative story. With Vine, it’s like a pub song that evolves and gets funnier with each round (pun intended).

9. We’re Seeing Several ‘Vine Celebs’ Popping Up Around The Social Web. Do You Think That These Could Soon Become The Freddie W’s And Ray William Johnson’s Of The Future?

Maybe. The thing that scares me, though, is that stuff is so much faster now, making celebrity all the more ephemeral. Were Warhol alive today he might very well have said “6 seconds of fame”. So, I don’t know. Also, having staying power in the social realm is just going to get harder and harder as people grow accustomed to getting fresh, different, viral content every single moment. Nobody wants to share something everyone has already seen, and sharing is the name if the game.

Add to that the fact that there is an IMMENSE pressure on Vine celebs to monetize NOW and I think that could have a disastrous impact on their ability to maintain an audience. You only need to do one little car Vine to suddenly lose all cred on a platform that hasn’t established a commercial etiquette.

10. If You Could Leave One Tip For A Brand Looking To Make A Splash On Vine, What Would It Be And Why?

Make fun of yourself and break every one of your damned brand guidelines.