Technically I am what would be called a millennial (or yuccie if you prefer). I was born in 1989, ride a single speed bike, and from the first bright blue Apple computer wheeled into my second grade classroom have been completely and utterly driven by technology. Myspace, AIM chat, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Ello, Vine, Google+, Foursquare, Swarm, Periscope; you name it I probably have an account with it.
Of course I’m not the only one, last year Adweek stated that 2.08 billion people were active on social media with social media accounts taking up roughly 28% of all media time spent online. So, it’s no surprise that more and more advertising money is being relocated from traditional media to social media to appeal to the elusive millennials. Once despised, Facebook ads are now par for the course and both Twitter and Instagram has become equal parts celebrity feuds and brands vying for your attention. What is surprising to me, however, is all of the recent money classic brands are pouring into the experimental Snapchat, Vine, and even Tinder.
Lasting roughly 5-20 seconds and dominated by 15-18 year olds, I’ve always thought of Snapchat and Vine as the frat boys at a company Christmas party. Everyone is dressed to the nine’s and sipping champagne cocktails while Snapchat and Vine are belching loudly as they make a beer funnel out of office supplies. The platforms are mostly utilized by brands built around the millennial mindset: Mountain Dew, Nike, Cheetos and ads are directed by and for 18 year old social media stars. Most of the videos feature narcissistic teens jumping off of bridges and toilet humor followed by an overabundance of product placement. While they are occasionally amusing, for the most part I find them pretty cringe worthy.
Yet now Snapchat is being heralded as the darling of the social media advertising world. Selling ten second ad space for ludicrous prices, bigger and more sophisticated brands are jumping at the chance to launch their own Snapchat channels including Audi, CoverGirl, CNN, and General Electric. Even presidential candidates are including the neon ghost in their litany of social media accounts to get voters to follow them. Vine has grown up from a collection of MTV VJ wannabes hawking fast food to boasting a growing collection of luxury and clothing brands including Burberry and French Connection.
So why are these high end brands and presidential candidates shelling out big bucks to capture the 10 second attention span of a demographic highly known for its lack of brand loyalness and lack of disposable income? Are high end brands making a smart move by selling luxury scarves the same way Doritos are being sold or is this merely a new experimental platform catering to the shortened attention span of the generation that is currently ruling the world?
What do you think? Will you soon be following brands on Snapchat and Vine just as regularly as you do on Instagram on Facebook? I have to admit, I won’t. Let Snapchat and Vine pander to the attention deficit masses, I’m just not ready.