Brands Need To Create Native Content To Get Real Cut-Through On Vine, Says Rudy Mancuso

Leading Vine star says Cannes Lions should have a short-form award category.

Millions of people are addicted to the 6-second content created by our latest guest on the Unruly blog – Rudy Mancuso.

He has amassed nearly 5 million followers since Vine was launched 18 months ago, making him the 10th most followed Viner on the planet.

Certainly, Vine creators like Mancuso are driving the explosive growth of the short-form platform, and thanks to new popularity metrics like ‘loops’, their roles are only going to become even more important, particularly to brands looking to reach out to a younger audience online.

Loops is a particuarly interesting addition to the platform, giving advertisers and content makers alike the opportunity to understand more clearly which content is getting cut-through.

We sat down with Rudy not only to find out how and why he’s become one of the most followed Viners going, but also how others – brands included – can be successful on Vine.

You’ve certainly shot into the public eye with your 6-second stories. What’s your secret?

There’s no real secret as to how to appeal to the masses on this platform, or for creating viral videos in general.

Having a large audience was never the original intention for me on Vine. I’m just a creator; I stay true to the art that I’m most passionate about, whether it’s music, creative directing, or comedy. The rest has been a sumptuous blessing that, although I appreciate, I can’t really explain.

Do you think brands can replicate the success of popular Vine stars?

In my opinion, anyone can replicate the success of the newly-erupted “Vine stars”. As long as the creations are fresh and well-crafted, users will respond. That being said, there’s undoubtedly a greater challenge for brands to create content that succeeds on Vine. This is simply because the time spent by brands learning the ins and outs of the platform is usually very minimal. Vine’s top influencers are at the top not only because of their creations, but because they have an in-depth understanding of the platform as a whole.

We are living and breathing this thing, and have been for the past year and a half; we know exactly what does and doesn’t work. In addition, I find that modern users respond well to un-forced, organic material. No one wants to be told what to like, they want to do that themselves. There is a subconscious barrier between brands and users that is hard to break, and has ultimately lead to their collaborative efforts with the influencers. The same way McDonald’s may hire a movie star to be the spokesperson of their newest product for a commercial, a brand will similarly work with a popular Vine influencer to help create content. 

How much planning do you do before making a Vine, and how would you describe your creative process?

Some of my most well-received vines were created on the spot, and fully improvised. Others, however, are treated like professional productions with a pre-production phase, development, shooting, editing, etc. I think of my best ideas when I’m asleep, or taking a nap. I’m not exactly sure why, but I assume that it’s when my mind is most free and I’m able to utilize brain cells that I normally wouldn’t use throughout the course of the day.

Your Vines often include music, humour, family and Latino characters. How do you find inspiration for Vines that resonate globally? 

I try to speak a language that the whole world understands. Through music, body language, and readable facial expressions, my messages are conveyed (or at least I think they are). I often assume that the user watching my vine is unable to understand the language I’m speaking, or uninformed about the specific topic I’m covering. I strive to have as diverse of an audience as I possibly can: all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities. As far as my original ideas go, I’m highly inspired by my family. My mother and father are so culturally erudite and incredibly wise, and have showed me so much in this world. They’re also natural performers and don’t even know it. My father, for instance, has impeccable comedic timing and improvisation skills, and my mother has such a vibrant and notable personality that truly resonates. Qualities of both have thankfully rubbed off on me, and I base a lot of my bits (especially the character-oriented ones) on their personalities and mannerisms.

Cannes Lions 2014 has just wrapped up. There were some awesome Vines surfacing this year. What do you think are Vine’s potentials for live events? And do you think there should be a short-form category at Cannes next year? 
I think Vine and live events can easily go hand-in-hand. There’s so much talent and creativity on the platform, and the content can undoubtedly survive outside of the online space. It is evident that real stories, some with full three-act structures, are being told. With that, the Vine audience is incredibly attracted to this form of media and so highly engaged. This makes for plenty of live opportunities. If it were up to me, I would include a short-form category at Cannes without hesitation. Vine has proven the fact that it is possible to tell a structured story in a matter of seconds. From there, possibilities are endless.
You’ve done some fantastic collaborations with other top Viners. Who are your favorite ones to work with?
I’ve worked with almost every big Vine influencer, and I must say that I’ve become good friends with most of them. I have many favorites to collaborate with, but I guess if I had to narrow it down, I would say that Jerome Jarre, Nicholas Megalis, Allegra Masters, Glozemaddic, and Brittany Furlan have consistently been my favorites to create content with.

The World Cup is happening right now and is one of the only truly global tentpole events. Vine even went as far as adding it to the Vine app homepage. Are there any World Cup Vines which you particularly admire? And why? 

I enjoyed one of David Lopezmost recent videos that commented on soccer players and their overreaction to physical fouls. It was quite clever. I myself created a vine that satirized soccer commentators just in time for the tournament. For an idea like that, It’s important that the vine reads organically to both soccer fans, and non-fans.

 Why do you think Vine has worked so well – and what is it about the platform appeals to you to so many others?

It’s no secret that our attention spans are getting shorter. The quicker it takes to deliver a message, the easier and more gratifying it is to consume; especially for the younger crowds. That idea has become more and more significant, and the term “short-form” now has a brand new meaning. Vine has created a beautiful structure that allows for storytelling in a brand new light. In addition to the time constriction, the loop is also what makes the storytelling so unique.

The loop technology allows for much more creative flexibility: timing options for comedic videos, visual patterns for artistic videos, perfect musical/audio loops for music/sound oriented videos, etc. Through the introduction of Vine, a new challenge was born for creators, and an innovative method of being entertained was born for consumers.