Instagram’s introduction of video functionality drew immediate comparisons with Vine across the internet. On the surface, the two are very similar: they both offer social sharing functionality for very short video pieces. But what does this new product mean for fashion brands, especially those that already utilize both services?
Vine has already aligned itself with Twitter’s mentality, a focus on extreme brevity and directness. The six-second limit, looping function, and community vibe have cemented Vine’s focus on humour and surprise. Instagram’s new video features are more closely related to the site’s older photo services. The more-lenient fifteen-second runtime allows more artistic license, as does access to a variety of filters and editing options.
Although later to the very-short video market, Instagram’s user base (well over 100 million) is still much larger than Vine’s (about 19 million). Also worth noting is that Instagram’s fifteen-second length is a parameter that television advertisers are already comfortable with using. While Vine’s super-short limitations created an entirely new type of message, Instagram seems poised for content that is more like traditional video advertising.
That said, companies will not simply be able to upload a commercial filmed with grips in a Hollywood studio to Instagram. The site requires uploads to be recorded within the Instagram app: preventing brands from lazily redistributing their content in the new medium. This should encourage a more targeted approach from firms, requiring them to create specifically for the Instagram community rather than the public as a whole. The limited capabilities of a cell-phone camera will force videos to be created an on artificially levelled field, making artistic direction an important consideration that cannot be fixed by computer graphics.
The current leader
Burberry is at the forefront of advertising on Vine. The British label created several popular videos surrounding its menswear show in London on June 18th. Most highlight the interaction between the brand and the hype or glitz surrounding the show, played in fast-forward to meet the requirements of the format. These videos tend to play up a certain realism in observation: presenting reality at six-times speed.
— Burberry (@Burberry) June 18, 2013
Alternately, Burberry’s accompanying video post on Instagram features a confluence of filters, cuts and people that at least look like professional actors: much like the photos that the company continues to post on its Instagram feed.
Does there have to be a winner and a loser?
Burberry’s use of the two services seems to imply that they can coexist. Despite the similarities, Instagram and Vine remain different enough to change the entire approach of the same brand. Instagram’s foray is not a Vine look-alike. Instead, the company chose to enter the market on its own terms: playing to previous strengths rather than directly competing with Twitter’s subsidiary.
As of this writing though, many brands have not been as proactive as Burberry. Asos is nearly as large as on Instagram (806,224 vs. 858,307 followers), but the company has yet to film anything in the fifteen-second format. This is surprising, considering Asos’s significant uses of Vine in unboxing contests on Twitter (#ASOSUnbox). As more brands start using Instagram’s new features, we’ll see whether they maintain the contrast shown in Burberberry’s approach.