Cinemagram’s crowdsourced GIF content could prove viral win for fashion brands

Rodarte

There’s no denying the unfathomable appetite online for GIFs at present, or Graphics Interchange Format images to use their full name. Although the simple animated pictures (made up of multiple frames on loop) are about to celebrate their 25th anniversary, they’re being feted across the web now more than ever.

Within the fashion industry, what’s followed of course is bundles of beautifully creative work – pioneered by blogger Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg with their “Cinemagraphs”, as reported here, and since carried on by all manner of Tumblr stars, including the likes of Mr Gif and FashGif.

In fact, on Tumblr, GIFs are hands-down the most successful posts. As Rick Webb, Tumblr’s revenue consultant explained at an event in New York recently it’s these that result in the most engagement actions – likes, reblogs and follows.

Needless to say therefore, fashion brands have cashed in on them too; Burberry, Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein as just a couple of examples. Below meanwhile is a recent tribute to the late Lee (Alexander) McQueen created by Nick Knight, and above another created by Rodarte, both of whom are part of the selection committee for a forthcoming GIF exhibition at Art Basel Miami created by Tumblr and Paddle8 called Moving the Still.

Over the past few months, Cinemagram is a name that keeps popping up in relation to all this. One of a number of apps dedicated to the GIF, it essentially simplifies the whole process for individuals to do themselves by using film, while simultaneously tapping into a sense of community once more (think Instagram for GIFs – grainy filters and all). It launched on the iPhone in March 2012, and reportedly has over two million users already.

Referred to as “a fun and beautiful way to animate your photos”, it has caught the eye of a number in the fashion industry especially. It’s interesting to see who is, or has been, on there already – the usual (largely New York-based) digital crowd when it comes to individuals, as well as the industry’s most tech-savvy brands, including Nicola Formichetti, Bergdorf’s and Rebecca Minkoff.

What seems to be the most interesting part of it, however, is nothing to do with corporations having to manage yet another social media outlet, but being able to use it to crowdsource content from their followers.

Brands such as Red Bull and music stars like Pink and Linkin Park have partnered with the platform to offer users the ability to remix official videos and create their own interpretations of the work. The sharing features built into the app then help spread it.

An original post introducing the “Remix” feature, reads: “For the first time, users can engage, interact, and be creative with official video content in a way that has never existed before. Companies want more exposure for their video content… We view cines as tweets for videos and therefore potentially a unique opportunity for Cinemagram to achieve their goals.” Users were doing it already, now they can do so legitimately, and directly from the source.

While a number of fashion brands told me they don’t see uploading their own content on Cinemagram to have too much of a future for them, one e-commerce site in particular said they’re excited to look at how to make use of this new crowdsourcing opportunity. Sending snippets of content out to fans and using it is as a teaser for a then full campaign video is enormously appealing, they explained.

Watch this space…

Nick Knight’s GIF tribute to Alexander McQueen