Vine Causes Excitement, Skepticism in the Ad World

Agency execs ponder whether app is valuable marketing channel or fleeting craze

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Twitter social video app Vine went live for iPhones on Thursday and by Friday morning it was the top-ranked social-networking app in the Apple App Store and No. 13 among all apps. Some brands -- including Urban Outfitters and Red Vines (natch) -- quickly jumped on the craze and began posting six-second videos on the new platform.

Even Ad Age couldn't help itself from getting tangled up in Vine.
Even Ad Age couldn't help itself from getting tangled up in Vine.

Even Ad Age couldn't help itself from getting tangled up in Vine.

Digital agencies, however, remain skeptical about Vine's staying power and functionality despite brands' enthusiasm.

"The app feels like it's half-finished," Ian Schafer, CEO of digital agency Deep Focus, said in an email. "It's had tons of user-interface failures."

IPhone 4 owners have complained they haven't been able to upload videos to the platform. And in one instance, two users were accidentally routed each other's accounts upon logging in, according to a report from AllThingsD.

Nonetheless, brands are excited about the new iPhone app -- sorry, Android users -- because of its unique storytelling capabilities and the sheer amount of Internet buzz it's generated.

"Some of our clients are getting really excited about it, and it's amazing it's taken off so fast," said David Berkowitz, VP-emerging media at digital agency 360i. He noted that, on Friday, the agency was working with several clients on developing Vine videos that could be released by the end of the day.

Mr. Berkowitz posted a frenetic Vine video of his own this morning to exhibit the medium's potential. Incorporating both still photos and video into concise six-second messages allows brands to tell new kinds of stories, he said.

Whether users stick around will be key to Vine's viability as both a marketing channel and potential new revenue stream for Twitter.

"The initial hype is going to die down in a week," Mr. Berkowitz said. "I think people are still going to use it for a little while. Six months from now, I don't know. That's the test."

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