September 9 was a big day for Vine, with two major brands – Dunkin’ Donuts and Trident gum – using the microvideo app to break into the television ad space. Although social media has been working its way into commercials for a while now – it’s hard to think of an ad that doesn’t feature a hashtag or social icons at some point – creating something exclusively of Vine content is a new concept. With consumer attention spans dipping lower than ever and social TV taking up a larger chunk of the spotlight, Vine ads could be the next best way for marketers to hold on to engagement and address two effective platforms at once.

Although both ads launched within an hour or so of each other, Dunkin’ Donuts was technically the trailblazer. The chain partnered with ESPN’s Monday Night Football pre-show and took advantage of the network’s “billboard ads,” which are five-second clips that air between show segments. The first of four Vines to be featured throughout the football season, Monday’s clip showcased a DD latte flipping a coin to kick off a game between two classic archrivals – hot coffee and iced coffee.


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To address the chain’s unique marketing move, Dunkin’ Donuts’ VP of global consumer engagement, Scott Hudler, said, “we think a billboard using Vine is dramatically more engaging than a standard billboard with a corporate logo on it.” Can’t argue with that. ESPN is also promoting an additional “#DunkinReplay” Vine in the last quarter of each game, which will be assembled (impressively quickly, we might add) by the brand’s “newsroom” team at the Hill Holliday agency. Each Dunkin’ Replay will use donuts, lattes, breakfast sandwiches, and the like to reenact a key play from an MNF game. To connect the replays with the social community, “(Dunkin’ Donuts will) buy Promoted Tweets… and target people who are already watching the game, so they know that this fun content is available,” said Stacey Shepatin, Hill Holliday’s SVP.

Soon after, Trident teamed up with music network Fuse to feature a Vine ad promoting its quintessential “Paid in Layers” campaign. The clip itself lasts four seconds, with the final two reserved for a “#paymeinlayers” CTA, and stars Vinelebrities Rudy Mancuso and Nicholas Megalis. The pair made a total of four clips for Trident, which were posted to Vine ahead of time, but the brand chose the one with the best engagement to feature in the ad. Fuse and Trident plan to air the content 100 times over a two-week period.

For brands, these two initiatives signal a whole new level of social TV appeal. Because consumers, on average, have an attention span lower than a goldfish – 8 seconds vs. 9 seconds – this “snackable” version of social TV could be the marketer’s dream: it’s nearly impossible to lose interest because it’s executed so quickly and, if done well, leaves viewers wanting to know more. Both Vine and social TV are in the experimental stages, so there’s tons of opportunity for brands to make their mark and stand out as pioneers. Plus, it works perfectly with the second screen trend that’s hitting epic proportions. Hudler adds, “Everyone is multitasking while watching TV with their phone, tablet, or laptop. A lot of times, the content… is not related to their TV shows. We want to make sure we’re supporting our TV investment with social media that’s (relevant).”