In the evolving world of social media, Vine feels like it’s been here for about the same time as one of its videos.

The rate of brand adoption on established social platforms, however, has previously taken a while longer to reach a critical mass.  With Instagram, Twitter and Facebook before, PR consultants and marketeers were keen to understand and analyse what stakeholders want from each platform before trying to promote a product or service in an engaging way.

Vine enjoyed much lauded media attention following a pre-launch Twitter takeover. Unfortunately, this buzz was soon displaced by negative launch headlines which involved service outages, app bugs that didn’t capture content (in my own personal experience, the world wasn’t ready for my before and after haircut Vine video) and lots of unfiltered filth, as the internet’s oldest profession took to social media’s newest platform.

Despite the adult rating on the Apple app store, Vine is out-stripping the growth of its social media predecessors. So while it’s only a few months old, here are five observations on how it is being used by brands and animal lovers alike.

1. A Vine video tells six thousand words

The majority of Vine videos are of people ‘doing things’ rather than being focused on delivering audio messages. The popularity of stop-gap animations on Vine has led commentators to suggest that the platform is actually more suited to GIFs, which were first used in 1987, over fully functioning HD videos that modern smartphones are capable of shooting today.

The Fashion industry has always been synonymous with adopting social media; it’s fitting, therefore, that the standout brand that has used Vine’s audio potential is British designer, Matthew Williamson. Here is an example, which seemed to be an integral part of the #MatthewMagnified marketing campaign:

2. You can sell Vines as creative works of art 

Earlier this month (March 2013), a Dutch artist became the first person to sell a Vine video. Angela Washko sold her work for $200 at the New York Moving Image and Contemporary Video Art Fair. The Guardian covered the story and details how this was achieved via a free file-sharing medium. What is interesting is that Vine appears to be the latest platform to help boost the short film industry. Firefly client Vimeo has given creative video professionals a platform that is distinct from the YouTube generation that consumes endless tedious online video content. Similarly, the art scene has embraced Vine (and Twitter) as a creative force through events like ?#VeryShortFilmFest above image sharing sites, Pinterest and Instagram.

3. Feline and food porn are still dominant 

For anyone that ignores YouTube links about cute animals, or is turned off Instagram by pictures of people’s dinner plates, Vine has ‘kindly’ brought these two favourite social media past times together on a single platform for you. launched within a week of Vine going live, while Twitter’s head chef, @birdfeeder, has found a new cult status via Vine with annoying narrations of what he’s got cooking up in the Twitter kitchen:

4. Vines are actually 6.5 seconds long

As was the case with Twitter’s 140 character limit, the press have filled endless column inches and broadcast hours on the 6-second micro video blogging app. However, Vine users actually have an extra half second to capture their creations – and when you only have a handful of time to play with, that’s quite significant. CNet’s videographer, Jared Kohler, has been credited with this discovery:

5. Not feeling Vine all the time?…follow third party aggregators instead.

Social search is all the rage and there is already so much Vine content out there. Social media entrepreneurs (aside from the founders) have realised that people need help finding what they are looking for. These Vine filters come in a variety of forms.

Vineroulette gives you a screen full of videos using each hashtag, with videos loading up at random. Vinepeek also taps into our fascination with the unknown, by showing users one random Vine video at a time and encouraging you to set up a Vinepeek channel to save your favorites. You can also throw into the mix as it lets you do precisely that – create video mashups and remixes.

For communication professionals looking for inspiration, I would suggest you check out which has taken it a step further and created a blog that provides an editorial overview of the best bits that brands have to offer on Vine.

If you aren’t one of the companies or individuals that has decided to start posting Vine videos already, it can be reassuring to discover that the limitations of Vine are also what makes it a great platform for brands to communicate on. Everyone is shooting using the same equipment, which means it’s the best storytellers that will prosper on Vine. This is what drives all of social media, so I look forward to seeing your #firstpost.

The long-awaited summer of 2012 is almost here. With so many things happening on our little island including the summer games, you’d think that PR consultants up and down the country would be rubbing their hands with Olympic-themed glee. But you’d be wrong.

Instead of producing fertile ground for PR-able content and campaigns, the games come with large, “Private Property – Keep Out” signs attached. Case in point: Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) has been signing agreements with Twitter and FourSquare to prevent brands who are not official sponsors from cashing in on the London 2012 name.

However, it looks like these tight guidelines may not be safeguarding the London 2012 brand as much as the organisers would like. Despite not being an official sponsor, Nike’s efforts have nevertheless enabled them to dominate online conversations around London 2012. According to Digital Agency, Jam, 7.7% of conversations about the Olympics is attributed to Nike, while Adidas – who paid a reported £100m to be the official sponsor of the games – received just 0.48% share of online conversations from the period 1 December 2011 to 7 February 2012.

Nike has managed to cleverly sidestep Logog rules with the Make It Count campaign, pulling in Olympic heavyweights Paula Radcliffe, Mark Cavendish and others. With the hashtag, ‘#makeitcount’, the campaign does more than suggest an alliance with the games through the combination of sport, the UK and the aforementioned Olympic celebs. The campaign kicked off with a video posted on New Year’s Eve 2011 asking, “How will you make 2012 count?”  This, following on from Nike’s accidental success through social media in the 2010 World Cup, should have sports marketing types having a re-think.

And it’s not just brands who are banned from mentioning London 2012. If you were hoping for some leaked backstage photos of Tom Daley eating a packet of Quavers, you are going to be disappointed. Locog has banned their 70,000-strong army of “Game Makers” (volunteers) from posting any information or photos from backstage at the games.

Despite many brands being affected during the summer games and beyond, it seems that Locog is not wanting to play ball and allow these brands (or its own volunteers) to share games-related information over social media platforms. While it is understandable that – like any brand – Locog will want to protect the London 2012 name, perhaps the committee is taking more than it’s giving. The media seem obsessed with churning out stories about how London and the wider area will be affected by the games in the summer – with overcrowded public transport, blocked-off roads and a flock of confused tourists heading to streets near us soon – what exactly will the Olympics bring to brands? Not even a tweet, it seems.

With all these limitations, Locog is trying to police the un-policeable – the digital sphere. It remains to be seen how Locog will deal with inevitable rule-breakers and what this will mean for future digital media campaigns.

For more information on what can and cannot be said regarding the London 2012 games, have a look at the official guidelines here:

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

Get in touch

Sign up to Spark, our newsletter

Receive thought pieces from our leadership team, views on the news, tool of the month and light relief for comms folk

You can unsubscribe at any time, please read our privacy policy for more information