Unruly / Blog / Vine Is A Digital Billboard That You Actually Pay Attention To, Says Viner Yell Design

Vine Is A Digital Billboard That You Actually Pay Attention To, Says Viner Yell Design

While the US has undoubtedly been the biggest producer of top Vine creators to date, American content creators don’t always sit at the top of advertisers’ hit lists around the world. As Unruly’s Geography of Sharing points out, content that works for one market, doesn’t always resonate in the same way for another.

My latest guest on the Unruly blog is based in Australia and is rapidly growing his creative pipeline with hungry brands looking to engage an ever-growing mobile audience Down Under.

I was fortunate enough to welcome Matt Willis, aka Yell Design, to Unruly HQ on his recent trip to London. I’ve been a big fan of Matt’s work since the early days when our common interest in the micro-format meant we crossed paths online, but it’s always great to meet the faces behind the creativity. I took the opportunity to understand what makes him tick. While some marketers might still snub the 6-second format as a limited marketing opportunity, Matt is living proof there’s a whole world of opportunity out there for marketers that match the correct content, creator and platform. In this programmatic age, a one-size-fits-all approach to your content stack just won’t cut it.

I sat down and delved under the skin of one of Australia’s hottest short-form content creators.

Here’s what he had to say:

1. It might only take us 6 seconds to watch, but how long does it take for you on average to create one of your Vines?

We usually allow for 3 days. One day for prep/build, one day for the shoot, and a day for post-production, including audio.


2. How do you see Vine growing in the future?

I see it growing in 2 ways: Firstly, externally. This is where the integration with Twitter is so important. It’s likely that ‘Vinecards’ and/or other interactive ads will appear, engaging users via a call-to-action. Secondly, internally. The community team at Vine are very active and will continue to add channel variations and messaging/sharing options to keep the internal audience engaged.


3. Why do you think brands have taken so well to the platform. In the early days many couldn’t get their heads around such a short-form medium?

From a marketing perspective, Vines are like small billboards that can be animated. They appear in your stream and you absorb them before you have a chance to swipe through. If the content is good, you may even watch the loop a number of times – or better still, share it!




4. If you could add any feature to Vine what would it be and why?

As a content creator, I would love to see some audio options for adding tracks within the app, and maybe some video features that use the existing camera tools (time-lapse, slow-motion) in a new way. Also, single-frame capture for stop-motion would be well received by the animation community. Inside the app, I would love to be able to create lists (similar to Twitter) so I can dip in and see a handful of key users when I don’t have time to view my full feed. The recent updates to notifications help!  


5. You’ve worked with all sorts of brands from Virgin Mobile to Converse. What makes a great brand/creator partnership for you?

The best partnerships occur when a brand with clear marketing goals hires a good creator and lets them get on with it.



Creators become successful not because of the brands they have worked with, but because they’re obsessed with making better content every time! This can be challenging when you have a brand, plus an agency, plus an influencer agency, and all of their creative teams pitching in. By the time it gets to the creator, hundreds of decisions have been made and often the underlying concept just won’t work.



6. As services like Facebook and Twitter ramp up their video products, what does this mean for content creators looking to be platform agnostic?

New opportunities and new challenges. We have a greater range of platforms to build and share content, but we also have to output multiple file formats for each content stack. Each new channel has different video resolution and timing specs, these things are essential to understand during production. A widescreen 15-second TV spot doesn’t translate immediately well to a square-format looping Instagram video, for example.


7. What brands do you think are making the best use of Vine/ have the best short form content strategy?

I think Lowe’s made the first real impact and set the benchmark for branded Vines. You can find plenty of good examples in their content. I also like the way TARGET has used Vine. We were fortunate enough to take part in their #UnPopTheBox campaign, in which they challenged 10 Viners around the world to create unique content with a random selection of items. The campaign was so successful it even won a Mashie (2014 – BEST USE OF VINE).



8. What is your favourite piece of branded content on Vine and why?

I think the stand out for me is adidas’ ‘every World Cup Ball’ Vine. If it was remade today, the production would be tighter and cleaner, but the concept is perfect for this format. One of our own favourites is a Vine we made for Disney during their #DisneySide campaign. It uses everyday objects arranged in a way that makes the brand immediately recognisable without the use of logos.



9. What do you think are some key things that brands should consider in their short form strategies?

The videos are short, so keep the message short. This should be obvious, but many people struggle with it. Pick one key thing you want to show/illustrate and do something cool with it – that’s it. Don’t try and show 5 features of a product. You will end up with a complicated, difficult mess. I can understand marketers trying to get the biggest bang for their buck in terms of messaging, but the reality is, a simple, cool, engaging video is more likely to be shared. Also, you don’t HAVE to use 6 seconds. Some of our best vines are 2-3 seconds long. This could lead to higher loop count too if attention is a key metric for your campaign!


10. We can’t chat without discussing live-stream video. Do you think this will be the next big thing? Does it have sticking power and how do you imagine this format being fruitful for brand marketers?

The first time I saw a live streaming site I was blown away, particularly the live interaction it offers with the audience. There is undoubtedly a place for it in marketing and I’m keen to see how it will be used. The strength is ‘immediacy’, that’s where the sweet spot will be. Large-scale public treasure-hunts with brands hiding products all over the place and sending live clues, or ‘pop-up’ gigs from music performers in secret locations that are accessed through live-feeds. There is a real opportunity for brands (and influencers) to show pulling power and create buzz through these new formats.


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