Media Observations- Vine and Product Placement

Just as you think every app imaginable has already been created, something new comes along and shakes up the market. The most recent race-to-download app is called ‘Vine’. Similar to YouTube, users create their own videos and subscribe to others. But what makes Vine stand out is how the videos have a limit of 6 seconds and play in a loop. Knowing what a success Vine will be, Twitter bought the company in October 2012 before the app was made public in January 2013.

To spread the app’s popularity, videos can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. When the app was first introduced, markets thought the app would trend for a year before dying out. But three years later, Vine is still a strong competitor.

This begs the question: why is this app, with a 6 second cap, so popular when we already have YouTube? Well, this question goes back to the principle of how our media is merely a mirror of society. Our society is so caught up in the latest technologies that are promised to be faster, sleeker and more available, all which adheres to our short attention spans and our desire to be a part of the latest trends.

Few people will sit down to watch an 8 minute video when there is the option to watch similar 6-second videos. Another plus; viewers can watch dozens of vines in the same time it takes to watch one lengthy video.

If technology is forever improving by becoming faster and more attention-grabbing, should we expect 2-second videos to be the next big idea?

Since the creation of movies, television shows and radio programs, advertising has played a role. By taking on different forms in each media, people recognize advertisements in different ways. The most common form of advertisement comes in the form of a commercial. Many people find these commercial breaks annoying, as they break up the television program. Advertisers know that when a commercial break comes on, there is a good chance viewers will tune it out, change the channel, or use that time to grab a snack. In order to make their products seen, advertisers found a new method to capitalize on: product placement.

Product placement applies to movies, television shows and radio broadcasts. As long as the characters talk about or use the product, or the product is featured in some other way during the program, it counts as product placement. Oftentimes the placement is subtle, such as logos on a shirt or an extra in the background is using the product. With this form of advertising, the product is given screen time, acting as a reminder instead of an advertisement, while guaranteeing an audience.

The idea of product placement isn’t anything new, although it’s quickly becoming more common. Product placement has been occurring since the late 1800’s. Some of the earliest examples include; the use of Lever Brothers’ Sunlight Soap in the 1896 short film Washing Day in Switzerland, Hershey’s bar with almonds in the 1927’s Best Picture-winning film Wings and the Budget Truck Rental and Pepsi in the 1990 film Home Alone. Product placement is a smart advertising technique. As such, it is sure to increase as time goes on.


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