World Leaders on Vine
With Vine probably the most difficult social network to master and maintain, it is no wonder that very few governments are using it. Vine videos are only six seconds long and they loop, making editing an essential attribute of a good Vine.
Vines are essentially the video equivalent of a tweet, and often too short for meaningful one-line political statements. However, it is amazing what stories you can tell in six seconds either in animated infographics or stop-motion video format. Some of the most popular Vine stars have amassed millions of followers and billions of loops with their skits.
Burson-Marsteller’s research team has identified 47 Vine channels of governments and world leaders, 11 of which are inactive and have never posted a Vine. Seventeen channels have been dormant for more than a year, and only 19 channels are active on a regular basis.
In 2013 and 2014, some governments have used Vine for quick, one-line statements. For example, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has posted only one Vine, inviting his followers for a Twitter chat, and U.S. President Barack Obama encouraged the U.S. soccer team on the White House channel during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The White House has, by far, the most followed Vine channel, with 458,000 followers, almost 10 times as many as Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in second position. The UK government, the State Department and UK Prime Minister David Cameron complete the top five list, however Cameron’s channel is inactive and he has never actually posted any Vine videos.
The 108 Vines produced by the White House have been viewed 125 million times, three times that of the 280 Vines on the Elysée channel of the French Presidency. The German Foreign Ministry is in third position in terms of total number of loops, ahead of the Brazilian President and the UK government.
The French Presidency is the most active governmental channel on Vine having produced 280 Vine videos ahead of the European Commission and the White House with 143 and 108 Vines respectively.
First Lady Michelle Obama is the Vine star of the White House channel. Her “Turnip for what” Vine with DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s song “Turn Down for What” in the background has become a viral hit with close to 50 million loops since 14 October 2014.
She has recently re-edited the piece with National Basketball Association star Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. The second most popular video on the channel also features Michelle Obama promoting her favorite fall vegetable, the sweet potato, with more than 10 million loops.
In October 2015, Michelle Obama invited a group of the world’s most popular Viners to the White House, including Lele Pons, King Bach and Jérôme Jarre - who had a blast judging from their Vines, which were re-vined by the White House channel and have clocked up more than 60 million loops.
The Elysée Palace has made Vine an essential part of the presidential digital communication, professionalizing the shooting and editing of their Vines. The French Presidency often splits the screen combining two or more video scenes in each Vine including a caption on blue background. Vines are produced to summarize the activities of the French President.
Sadly, the most watched Vines of the Elysée Palace is the meeting of the Defense council in the wakeof the Paris attacks in November 2015, as well as the lowering of the French flag and start of three days of mourning for the victims. Both Vines have garnered more than 10 million loops each.
The third most watched video of the French presidency is the impromptu meeting between Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 70th D-Day celebrations on 6 June 2014 in Normandy.
Many governments have used Vine as a video tool to report on the activities of their leaders either in meetings, or during official receptions, an example being the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry which Vines the arrival of official visitors to Vilnius. The now dormant Matignon channel, named after the French Prime Minister’s residence, boasts 27 Vines videos of red carpet arrivals of world leaders, the last one being the handover between outgoing Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault and his successor Manuel Valls on April 1, 2014.
Vine is the perfect channel for short form news items such as the decoration of the Christmas tree in Vilnius, Lithuania, or the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of 10 Downing Street. Government Vine communication have also featured flags being lowered in honor of Nelson Mandela in London and in Paris on 6 December 2013. The UK Foreign Office made a strong political statement with a Vine showing the flag of the Falklands’ Islands flying over the Foreign Office in remembrance of the British liberation of the islands in 1982.
The most watched Vine of the UK government is a flypast of the Red Arrows over Westminster inhonor of visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015; the second most popular is a flypast of the same planes during the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014.
The UK government went a step further, creating a six-second animation attempting to explain the UK’s #LongTermEconomicPlan.
The government of Monaco has even posted a Vine of models on a catwalk during the Monaco Fashion week. However, since the advent of native videos on Twitter and Periscope, Vine is less used as a reporting channel.
The German Foreign Ministry is the most effective government institution on Vine, garnering an average of 2,400 loops per follower. The Elysee Palace is almost as effective with its videos, far ahead of the White House and the French government channel.
The German Foreign Ministry has used Vine creatively to support its national football team during the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Before every crucial match, Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier recorded a Vine video playing table footie, kicking the ball and gathering his staff to cheer on the Mannschaft. The four videos clocked up a total of 4.8 million views.
However it is a one shot pan of snow in the courtyard of the foreign ministry in Berlin on January 6, 2016 which has become the most viewed Vine of the German Foreign Ministry’s channel with more than four million loops and the hashtag #SnowCialMedia. By comparison, a similar Vine of the snow-covered square in front of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry in Vilnius only received a few thousand views.
In March 2015, The UK Foreign Office produced a hilarious series of skits on what not to do with your passport. The professionally edited videos explained that the passport is not a notepad, nor a beermat and that you should neither swim with it, or wash it and definitely not microwave it afterwards.
Lastly, the French Foreign Ministry produced what must be the best low-budget, home-made stop motion animation and hasbecome its most watched Vine, a conversation between two Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls who are sick of not being invited to the annual ambassadors’ conference in Paris.
About this Study
World Leaders on Vine is Burson-Marsteller's latest research into how world leaders, governments and international organizations communicate via social media. The research builds on Burson-Marsteller's highly acclaimed annual Twiplomacy study, now in its fifth year. Initially focused solely on Twitter, the 2016 study has been expanded to other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more niche digital diplomacy platforms such as Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+ and Vine.
Burson-Marsteller has identified a total of 47 Vine channels, most of which have been verified by Twitter and carry a green verification mark. Only 19 of these channels are active and the rest are either dormant for more than a year, or have never posted a Vine. Data was collected on April 6, 2016 and the full Excel data table can be downloaded here.
Thank you to Matthias Lüfkens for his ongoing strategic guidance on Twiplomacy and the World Leaders on Social Media series.