YouTube already has a well-established constellation of star creators, and now a similar community is cropping up on Vine, Twitter’s social video network. One of the platform’s standouts is Nicholas Megalis, a 24-year-old Brooklyn-based musician who has amassed about 2.5 million followers. And he’s now wading into work with brands while trying to stay true to his creative vision, making a Vine to promote a Virgin Mobile contest and a couple for Trident Gum.
Tell me about your relationship with Virgin Mobile.
They’re a rock ’n’ roll brand. I’ve always liked projects they’ve been involved with. My interest increased when I sat down with them and they said, “We like the work you do.” And they didn’t say, “You have to do this” or “You have to change this and that.” And that interests me because I only want to do stuff that I want to do.
What do you think is the future of branded or sponsored work on Vine?
Advertising is very bad for the most part, so I think brands should understand their consumer and look to artists and not just within their own company.
What sort of branded or sponsored Vines don’t work?
Slapping a product name on a Vine and just expecting people to buy something because you put it online. You can’t just be a brand name anymore. You gotta pay attention to people and show them love. If you ever expect people to drink your soda or wear your shoes, you have to make something frickin’ cool that they can look at.
Would you ever do paid product placements?
I can’t say. It would have to make sense to me and be something that I respect, and I would want to do.
How did you get into Vine?
I found Vine through a friend. I’m a musician, a singer, songwriter, performer and comedian, and I saw it immediately as the next thing I was going to be obsessed with.
Are you interested in YouTube or Instagram video?
Oh yeah. YouTube, that’s where you go when you want to edit video and create these intricate production pieces. Instagram is a totally different world than Vine. I think Instagram still is really good for photography. The videos being 15 seconds might just be a little bit too much time. And because it doesn’t loop, it doesn’t fascinate me as much as Vine because I’m a musician—there’s room to make things musical that aren’t necessarily musical on Vine.
How often do people recognize you on the street?
Right now, as crazy as this is for me to even believe, I’m getting stopped every day almost.