Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
By Mel Exon, co-founder of BBH Labs, marketingmagazine.co.uk, Wednesday, 20 February 2013 08:00AM
Less friction, less complication, more automation and more intuitive design.
Just think back to the Z1, the first programmable computer built in 1938 by engineer Konrad Zuse - so large it filled his parents' living room. Then compare it with a typical smartphone or tablet now: so small and so easy to use, a toddler could get to grips with it.
Moreover, as ease of use grows, so does the rate at which technology is able to gather momentum.
Take Vine, Twitter's mobile video app, launched at the end of January. While predecessors such as Viddy and Socialcam positioned themselves as the 'Instagram of video', but have yet to take the world by storm, there is something compelling about the deliberate simplicity of Vine, perfectly matched to its parent Twitter.
On the surface, six seconds of footage isn't offering much, right? Or perhaps, as others have noted, it is the video equivalent of 140 characters: the brevity is the (potential) source of its creativity. In its infancy, however, it is clear that there is still plenty of room for the video equivalent of the breakfast banalities for which Twitter users were criticised by early naysayers. So why should marketers pay attention?
We can all learn from the app's stripped-down interface, which attempts to remove every point of friction. Even things we would expect to see, such as a video 'play' button, have been removed. It is crucial to ensure that a video-based app flows fluidly and easily, perhaps, but Vine's creative director Rus Yusupov goes further - 'An interface should get out of the way'.
Online video hit a tipping point at the end of 2011 when Cisco recorded that it exceeded 50% of global consumer internet traffic. And, as Brian Norgard at Chill.com put it last year, 'social is emerging as a starting distribution point for content'. It follows that the simpler social video is to make and distribute, the broader and deeper its reach.
It's an obvious point, but the appearance of Vines as cards integrated into the Twitter stream is just one manifestation of the scale and credibility you get with Twitter's backing.
If Oreo can 'win' the Super Bowl with a simple line and a pic on Twitter, there is more than enough opportunity for brands and agencies to be creative here. At the very least, it offers a fresh way to share a promotion or a response, give people a look behind the scenes or an imaginative expression of what the brand believes in. This is advertising, just not as we know it.
Mel Exon is co-founder of BBH Labs. Follow her on Twitter: @melex
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk