Instagram video has only been live for a month, but brands are finding ways to use it to distribute existing 15-second ads.
Carnival Cruises is among the latest to tap into fast-growing Instagram video, posting nine clips featuring archetypal sun-filled holiday scenes of passengers tanning and a smiling bartender mixing fruity drinks. And then sometime last week, all of them disappeared.
Sometime after the ads were posted, the company's marketing department removed them, believing they may have violated of Instagram's terms of service, said a Carnival spokeswoman. It's not clear that Carnival did violate the terms and Instagram declined to comment on it.The videos weren't shot using Instagram and thus were missing the sepia-toned, artfully out-of-focus aesthetic that characterizes much of its photography.
Some of the clips had previously been posted to Carnival's YouTube page, according to Peter Gonzalez, president of Bold Man and The Sea Media, an agency that works for the brand. Because Instagram doesn't have a built-in tool for uploading already-edited footage (it directs users to shoot and edit video inside the app), Carnival used a workaround.
But the incident illustrates a dilemma for brands and Instagram.
The network encourages marketers to use the site, while aiming to preserve its artistic aesthetic and keep it free of overt video advertising. But plenty of brands have 15-second pre-roll spots and may be tempted to repurpose them.
Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer said he'd like to see Instagram build a tool to enable posting existing video content, but warned that even if a brand has found a way to post existing video, it should be judicious about employing it.
"If you make content for Instagram, it should appeal to the Instagram user," he said. "Repurposing content seems like a good idea until you substitute efficiency for effectiveness."
An Instagram spokesman said it was "keeping in mind" the possibility of launching a tool to make it easier for brands to publish external video files.