What kind of story can you really tell in six short seconds?
That was the question asked by many when Twitter-owned Vine, a micro-video blogging platform, launched in January.
The app-based video-sharing platform allowed users to film and post six-second video clips using just one button on their smartphones. The videos could then be posted on a variety of social media, including Twitter. However, the first wave of Vines to hit the cybersphere left something to be desired.
“I made a Vine of me making morning coffee just like everyone else did,” explains Khoa Phan, who can now, a mere few months later, accurately describe himself as the world’s first professional Viner. “I figured that that could get really boring really quick, so I thought I could do some stop-motion animation Vines.”
The idea was an instant success and Phan’s whimsical and curious construction paper-based stop-motion Vines, which can have between 90 to 100 separate edits in them, began to go viral. The San Diego, California resident says he just followed his own creative sensibilities with stop-motion montages like “Ode to Keith Haring” and “The Magic Water Facet”. His fanciful attitude served his creations well and after generating some internet notoriety he received a direct message from the @Snoopy twitter account.
“I was like, ‘is this real?’” he recalls now. “Is this really Peanuts!?”
Peanuts Worldwide reached out to Phan to discuss utilizing his innovative approach to the nascent medium to promote their brand, which of course has its roots in the traditional medium of the newspaper comics.
Peanuts commissioned Khoa to produce 12 different Vines and 10 Instragrams to be released on a monthly basis. The company reports that the first Vines that have been released have been viewed thousands of times and have been distributed to more than two million people throughout its social media networks. Reportedly, the Vine promotion is a part of a social media campaign for Peanut’s still-untitled 3D animated movie due to hit theaters in 2015.
The first Peanuts Vine featured six different personas of Snoopy, and in the many hours of work in creating it, Phan says his admiration for the iconic strip grew.
“It was like living my childhood again,” he says. “I gained an appreciation for how those storylines and characters are really formed. I gained an understanding for how complex a body of work it is.”
While he has no plans to move into longer-form animation, Phan says that he is always open to new artistic ventures.
“I can’t imagine how much work goes into a full animated series,” he laughs. “But you never know, maybe someday.
One thing that is certain, however, is the viral success of the Peanuts Vines is proof that the medium can be an integral part of the modern marketing campaigns.
“It’s only six seconds,” says Phan. “But you can do a lot.”
Of course, Peanuts Worldwide is no stranger to searching out new platforms to increase brand visibility. Back in 1985, Peanuts inked a deal with insurance company MetLife to have its characters appear in promotional materials, sales literature, premium items and advertising. The lucrative and far-sighted deal has kept creator Charles Schulz’s characters highly visible while their contemporaries have fallen far from the public eye. Accordingly, the deal was renewed in 2002.