Vine Changes Advertising As We Know It??? Bullsh*t!

September 11, 2013 by Dave Haynes


I just finished reading a post on American Express’s Open Forum (which is about … I’m not sure) that posed with a straight face the question:

Could Dunkin’ Donuts’ Vine Ad Change Advertising As We Know It?

The answer is No.

The micro-spot using Twitter’s Vine service ran on ESPN’s Monday Night Football the other night, and was a stop-motion thing for the coffee shop chain, with cups running for a touchdown. Yay.

Clever, yes. Ground-breaking, no.

The post suggests: An ad that only lasted 5 seconds may signal a change in the way brands think about advertising.

But there is nothing new about short form ads, and a service that spits out crappy videos in six-second chunks is still just a service that spits out crappy videos in six second chunks.

It’s the creative that matters – and good creative is good as video, static or even an animated gif, which is in many respects what these Vine things equate to. Yet the marketing industry is excited by this brave new advertising world, suggesting Vine’s technology democratizes advertising by taking the big cost out of advertising production.


The tools to create good video are cheap. You can rent Adobe After Effects for $20 a month these days, and there’s no end of other low or no cost options. You can shoot HD video with your phone. Or you can buy a Black Magic Design camera for $1K. Someone with a little patience could output a 6 second animated gif for free with online tools.

What DOES cost money, usually, is creative smarts. Ad production is easy, good ideas are harder. Look at this round-up of what are considered great Vines, and ask yourself how many are great (not many) and how many cost a lot of money to conceptualize and create (most).


Someone, remarkably, thinks this six-second Trident ad is brilliant and paid really money to produce and distribute it. It got lots of Facebook “Likes” – which serious marketing people will tell you are worth about nothing.

I know I am old, too old to get this stuff. OK, sure.

But with age comes experience, and we geezers have seen all kinds of things like this come along that are on the cusp of changing everything. A few months later it is something else (like social TV, check-ins, and on and on). Micro videos are not going away. People like seeing themselves in JPGs and they will like this even more. But changing advertising as we know it? Pfffft.

There is, however, a lesson here. Some of the thinking around Vine as an ad format has to do with the increasing short attention spans of consumers, as in people will only look for a few seconds, so let’s keep the ads short and sweet.

So which industry can you think of (clue: starts with digital, ends with signage) has an attention span issue?

If this irrational Vine Mania leads to agencies producing short, quick and dirty ads, that’s probably a really good thing.


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