When Vine first hit the scene in January 2013, I had my doubts. In fact, I made a video (longer than six seconds) calling it "redonkulous," which if you're a connoisseur of Urban Dictionary, means "significantly more absurd than ridiculous to an almost impossible extreme; without possibility of serious consideration." Fast forward to today and I'm one of its biggest fans, using Vine more than any other app on my phone.
Short-form video has exploded thanks to Vine and Instagram, who introduced 15-second video capabilities some six months after Vine's launch. Both platforms have been a major source of interest for brands both big and small, and Hunter Harrison was one entrepreneur caught in the middle of the frenzy.
Alongside partner Frank Danna, they went from simply having fun to making quick, attention-grabbing videos for major brands. It led to the creation of parabox creative, and in April 2014, the company was acquired by Softway Solutions out of Houston, Texas.
What was it that intrigued you about Vine or Instagram?
My partner (Frank Danna) and I started playing around on Vine the day the app launched. We received some notable press for some of the early vines we created and started receiving requests from brands to produce content for their channels not long after. The requests started grow...as well as the size of the companies we were dealing with. Before long, we were working with global brands. At that point we decided to form a company to run all the work through, and thus parabox was born.
I laugh pretty much every time I fire up Vine, but it's also more than just comedy. How have businesses, large and small, used it in a beneficial way? Same goes for Instagram.
Vine is definitely a big proponent for comedy. I laugh often up there too. One of the sometimes overlooked side of the app is the art that's created up there. There are some really creative folks using the medium to showcase their talents. The platform has opened so many doors for early adopters. Some have started acting careers, music careers, modeling careers, businesses, etc. all because they embraced the platform when it was new. It can work in a similar way for businesses that adopt it. It’s a gateway into unlimited opportunity.
When we first touched base, I told you that I felt it was a waste of money for companies to hire someone to create Vine or Instagram videos for them. Then again, I'm wrong pretty often. What would you have to say to this?
It's long been proven that we are a visual society. Video is one of the most dynamic ways to reach an audience. What some don't realize...or haven't completely embraced is the fact that we're also a mobile society. Traditional video advertisements aren't nearly as effective anymore because everyone is so distracted by their phone/tablet screens. Vine and Instagram are ways to reach people where they are by telling dynamic visual stories. My number one rule in marketing is to follow the eyeballs. Brands should embrace short-form video because the eyes of their target audience are, more often than not, fixated on their mobile device.
How much time goes into creating a video that is over in just seconds?
It really depends on how elaborate the production is. Minimum: 10 hours.
Where do you see these platforms evolving?
They're going to get more and more crowded. I see them consistently being embraced by an influx of new users. As both platforms keep improving their features, they will naturally attract attention. I'd rather get on Vine and Instagram than watch tv. There's no way I would have said something like that 2 years ago. I think more people will begin to see how fun and entertaining both communities can be.