Burt's Bees doesn't exactly balm in its debut on Vine, but the effort isn't da balm, either.
The brand riffs on classic literature in animated "adaptations" of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Little Women, with more to come, all created by ad agency Baldwin&. Burt's products stand in for the characters and key story elements. For example, a foot-cream tube and a hand-salve tin—the latter with tentacles—play the Nautilus submarine and giant squid, respectively, in the 20,000 Leagues clip. Lip-balm tubes portray the Little Women. (Burt's seven core products are called "classics," hence the theme of classic books.)
Jethro Ames's energetic, playful stop-motion work is a highlight, and the all-out attempt to be wacky is laudable. Still, this feels like a brand searching for its voice in a new medium and falling just a little flat.
Most fans will access the clips through Burt's social outlets, so they'll understand the literary theme. Still, with products playing people, the quirky animation and the oddball dialogue snippets—"Less Leagues! Less Leagues!"—there may be too much to absorb in six seconds.
Burt's plays it far simpler in its first Instagram campaign, showing founder Burt Shavitz paddling a canoe, making tea and generally kicking back in woodsy Maine. These bucolic images do a fine job of illustrating the brand's "classic" folksy motifs. In fact, tastefully edited, with an appropriate soundtrack and logo at the end, they'd make quietly understated Vines that could grow on you.
See the two released Vines below, and scripts/images for three more below that.