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Brands Are Already Using Instagram Videos and Planning for More

Stoked marketers quickly whip up 15-second ideas

Now that Facebook has officially trotted out a video feature for the increasingly popular Instagram—which was formerly limited to helping smartphone users act like stylistic photographers—social media creatives are licking their chops at the marketing possibities.

"It was wise to make them 15 seconds, because it allows for more engagement than the six seconds you get with Twitter Vine," said Michael Kelly, Red Vines' social media lead. "It allows you to tell stories that are at least a little more complicated."

Here is a handful of brands that have already produced Instagram vids, including one from Kelly's team:

Maybelline

Burberry

Red Vines

Lululemon

Charity Water

Jenis Ice Creams

But as agencies and other marketing players told Adweek today, the above stabs at the 15-second spots represent just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

"With Instagram video we're going see a boom in short, artsy video clips," said Jen Stocksmith, creative director for Tribal Worldwide. "Brands will use it to show a more human side and give fans a glimpse of behind-the-scenes action."

Erich Joachimsthaler, CEO of branding consultancy Vivaldi Partners Group, which has dozens of clients including Unilever, Ford and Coors, said Instagram video is ripe with marketing opportunities around exercise/training and national sports events.

"For example, Nike could focus on winning or athletic persistence—there could be a leaderboard and other tools for gamification to make this a fun experience for consumers," he explained. "Groups of fans could compete for the most perfect video at the end of a game, and there could be voting. For example, during Game 7 of the San Antonio Spurs versus Miami Heat NBA finals tonight, there could be a winner of the most highly voted video, [pitting] Spurs fans versus Heat fans."

Ming Linsley, social media director at MEC, was on a similar wavelength. "Since a number of brands like Urban Outfitters and the New York Yankees currently utilize the Instagram platform to provide a behind-the-scenes look at festivals or the club house, it feels as though video will offer a natural extension of this," she said. "The added element video can provide is for stylists/editors or athletes to speak directly to fans and further personalize the conversation."

It's too bad that Instragram video couldn't have come in time for the onset of Cannes and its hyper-creative audience. But expect to see the feature in play at future big shows like Advertising Week and South by Southwest (SXSW), suggested Betsy Smith, social media strategist at digital marketing agency Flightpath.

"If Coke wanted to set SXSW abuzz, they could place digital billboards throughout the festival and stream videos and images from Instagram of users #SharingACoke," she said. "Street teams encouraging people to share a Coke with a stranger and handing out not one but two Cokes to each passerby would seed the crowd. People respond to emotional, inspiring videos. And everyone wants to be a star."

Product videos that have long lived on YouTube and hundreds of specialty blogs may now make Instagram their home, said Craig Elimeliah, Rapp's vp, director of creative technology.

"CPG brands can have a field day with short-form video and filters in which they can present anything from easy-to-follow recipes that illustrate how quickly you can prepare a meal using their ingredient to a cross-promotion of complimentary products that you wouldn't normally see together to not-so-obvious uses of a product, such as using toothpaste to clean grass stains," he said. "In other words, Instagram videos could be a powerful storytelling platform that has high entertainment value at little cost to create."

And if the last few hours are any indication, folks should expect to see plenty of 15-second Instagram spots from brands in their social media feeds soon.

"No matter what type or size of brand, this launch, like [Twitter] Vine, democratizes content creation for brands and their team—especially good for small-to-mid brands," added Bill Litfin, director of social engagement at Engauge.

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