Virgin Mobile Takes Vine Videos To TV

Vine invented a new style for video that’s spreading to Instagram and, through one contest from Virgin Mobile, to television.

Virgin Mobile Takes Vine Videos To TV

The six-second video loops on Twitter’s video-sharing app, Vine, look nothing like television commercials, and they’ve forced brands on the platform to depart from the video status quo. Despite this difference in format, however, Virgin Mobile launched a contest yesterday that will bring Vine videos to television.


This contest, which will run through July 21, asks users to submit their best “Happy Accident,” a theme that ties into an ongoing series of Virgin television ads in which people deliberately destroy their phones so they can transfer to Virgin Mobile’s plan. Winning videos will be included in the campaign’s next commercial.

Virgin Mobile hired a handful of influential Vine users to raise awareness of the contest by posting videos with the hashtag #HappyAccidents, which is the hashtag through which entrants will submit their work. Paid entrants can’t win. They include Nicholas Megalis, Rudy Mancuso, Ry Doon, and Qpark, who together have more than 3 million Vine followers. Vine user Pinot created the initial announcement video for the Virgin Mobile handle.

There’s a valid argument to be made that Vine isn’t comparable to other forms of video. Gary Vaynerchuk, for instance, started the Vine-specific talent agency through which Virgin Mobile hired Viners for its campaigns. He argues that Vine and Instagram video occupy different niches. “One is, ironically, long form, 15-seconds, one is shorter-form, six seconds, I think they’re going to have different needs, different people will pop out and be successful on both,” he said in a video about the issue.

But it’s also easy to see how Vine has influenced the greater world of video. MTV, for instance, recently began announcing its VMA nominees in Instagram and Vine videos.

Here’s the Vine video announcing Best Male Video nominees:

Here’s the Instagram video announcing Video of The Year nominees:


Despite Instagram allowing videos up to 15 seconds long–the length of many television commercials–the two MTV clips are almost identical. My guess is the Instagram Video wouldn’t look the way it does if MTV hadn’t first learned the style on Vine.

Many of the first Instagram videos posted by brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Burberry, Intel, Ben & Jerry’s, and Lululemon favor the hyper-short-clip style of Vine over a more traditional, television-commercial-like format that could fit in 15 seconds. Now, with Virgin Mobile’s promise to put Vines on TV, that same staccato Vine format will debut on the television itself.

Vine may have invented a new style, but it can’t necessarily keep it for itself.

[Image: Flickr user Justus Hayes]

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.