Dave Birss came in for the second time last week and delivered another fantastic master class.
He spoke about how advertising is where art and commerce meet, earning the audience and he showed us some of his favourite work, thanks Dave.
But he also said something that I disagreed with, sorry Dave.
He suggested that after the product shot and other requirements, your 30-second spot is only 22 seconds long and so you don’t have much time to get your message across.
But 22 seconds is heaps of time, maybe even four times what you actually need.
Vine, a video sharing service which limits its users to sharing only 6 seconds of video was launched last year.
Since then I’ve been amazed at what people have managed to produce in 6 seconds.
Vine has become a creative hub for comedians, filmmakers, musicians and animators to exhibit their work.
Celebrities use it to broadcast to their fans.
A Turkish journalist used it to document the aftermath of a suicide bombing.
And the Tribecca film festival even introduced the 6-second film category last year.
The 6-second limit was decided upon through trial and error. Five seemed too short, ten too long, while six (six and a half to be exact) allowed enough time for a story to be told whilst preserving the brevity its creators wanted.
Unsurprisingly the content is very of the moment, loose and informal. Vines show what people are doing right now, they represent the trends and culture of the time. They are 6 second slices of life offering a global snapshot, ‘a planet at play six seconds at a time’.
At the start of the course we were asked to describe ourselves in 20 seconds, I bumbled my way through a dreary description of a few things I’d done.
It was fine, we moved on to the next person, but I doubt I stood out or made even the slightest impression. I immediately questioned myself as I remembered the famed Ogilvy quote: ‘If you can’t advertise yourself, what hope do you have of advertising anything else?’
20 seconds isn’t enough to describe yourself? I’m a person with 23 years of experiences on earth, how can I translate that into 20 seconds?
Vine has showed me 22 seconds is a wealth of time.
As Steve Harrison eloquently put it advertising is the ‘uninvited guest’. So we better have an interesting knock and a short sales pitch.
Vine reflects this idea perfectly. The 6-second limit forces you to distil your message down to its essence, its core and only convey the information that bears weight.
Vines don’t have to worry about being too invasive or being skipped in a YouTube pre-roll.
The Turkish journalised used Vine because he found that 6 seconds of video covered all the important details and avoided the trivial. People will always use the time you allot them. However rationing time forces people to be clever with how they use it.
Snapchat recently debuted its first in-app advert. It was 20 seconds long, 10 seconds over the 10-second limit Snapchat currently sets its users. I wonder how the advert would have changed if stuck to the 10 second limit?
We are always told to keep our ideas simple and compact. Perhaps communicating an idea in a Vine is a good test of its quality.
Constraints breed creativity.
Or as Orson Welles said: ‘the enemy of art is the absence of limitations’