It may or may not be apocryphal, but the story goes that Ernest Hemingway once beat a bar bet that said he couldn't write a complete story in six words. His winning tale: "For sale, baby shoes, never worn."
Vine's six-second video loops are sort of like that, and—to a lesser extent—so is Instagram's new 15-second looping-video feature. And now two major automotive brands, Nissan and Honda, have joined the growing number of companies that are trying to figure out whether these latest new fragments of the social-mediasphere are worthwhile to promote their own aims.
Nissan is tapping both Vine and the new Instagram tool to promote the new Note version of its Versa compact. The car is aimed at "young, active Millennials who live life at the spur of the moment through their phone," as Erich Marx, director of social media and interactive marketing for Nissan USA, told brandchannel. As "the largest vehicle in its segment," he said, Versa Note provides them the best way to pile their friends and their stuff in the car and zoom off to the latest adventure.
Vine fits that peripatetic mode. A website offers printable variations of Versa Note cutouts that people can use to make Vine and Instagram videos, and some users will see their creatives in the car's new ad campaign, on TV or online video.
"I love the fact that this is a bit of a real-world lab experiment" about which new social-media platform is best, commented Marx. "Frankly, I think it's a bigger challenge making 15 seconds of watchable content than six seconds of compelling content."
Meanwhile, Honda is sticking with Vine only to assist its annual US summer-clearance event this year for the entire fleet. Responding to tweets with hashtag #wantnewcar on Monday, Honda posted live, customized Vine videos. The hashtag saw 6,895 Twitter mentions from 5,617 users with 14.8 million estimated Twitter impressions. The word "Honda" received an estimated 247 million impressions between July 14 and Tuesday morning, the company told brandchannel.
Some of the Vine responses were aimed at "pre-tweets" and so were pre-shot, such as one Vine that addressed a tweet in which a consumer wanted a new Honda because his car was a "dinosaur"; the Honda Vine video showed a toddling toy dinosaur. Spontaneously produced Vine videos on Monday included one that showed a prize of a $100 Starbucks gift card for a winning tweet.
"We knew it would be fun and engaging, and we just really wanted to see where we could go with it," Susie Rosick, senior manager of regional marketing for American Honda, told brandchannel. "But it's scary. You wonder where the attention span of [the average] 17-year-old will be 10 years from now."