Vimeo has always been a clean and clutter-free video-sharing site. There are no pre-roll advertisements and non-video ads appear much less than on YouTube or other similar sites. However, this doesn't mean that advertisements and brands are not apart of the Vimeo experience. They just recently announced their new Brand Creative Fund, which matches major brands with talented Vimeo users to create films (which aren't necessarily exclusive to that brand). With this initiative, Vimeo is handpicking users for the opportunity to partner with large companies and get paid in the process.
Check out Lincoln's official video, plus a behind the scenes look below (it doesn't look like this was part of the Brand Creative Fund, but it's definitely still interesting):
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/63853897
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/63748088
When I first became a Vimeo user almost 3 years ago, I used the site as a kind of -- primordial cloud storage system for video that I would upload as a failsafe against losing the files forever. I obviously didn't see Vimeo's potential at the time, but now more than ever Vimeo is evolving into more than just a simple video-sharing site. It has become a community of artists and independent filmmakers; close-knit and sharing in the overall Vimeo experience, which seemed devoid of advertiser influence. Responding to a recent Videomaker interview question about the role advertisements play on the site, Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor said:
Although we are very judicious with our approach to having brands in the experience, we have always believed that brands have a role to play in Vimeo. The key is inviting them to participate in a way that makes sense.
Well, the brands have now been invited to participate. With Vimeo's Brand Creative Fund, media will be sold to advertisers (The Lincoln Motor Company being the first), but that media will be produced by someone in the Vimeo community. These handpicked filmmakers will work with companies that partner with Vimeo and they will be creating their own films.
The first series, Hello, Again, which explores the notion of "reimagining," or seeing old and familiar as new again, has already launched. In a recent blog post, Vimeo shared that they have commissioned films from four of their leading creators: Eliot Rausch, Becky & Joe, Jeff Frost, and Lucy McRae. The filmmakers chosen to work with The Lincoln Motor Company were asked to create an introduction to their films and provide a sneak peek at what happened behind the scenes. Here's what filmmaking team Becky & Joe came up with, an introduction to their short film Tallest Heights:
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What kind of bedfellows do independent filmmakers and automaker Lincoln make? What could each party give to one another other than a product and payment? Apparently a lot. In a recent Co.Create interview, Trainer said:
Lincoln is in a place where they’re trying to support creativity in a genuine way, and they came to us in the spirit of collaboration and asked us what we can do together -- Lincoln has been an incredible partner because they totally get the spirit of the Brand Creative Fund. They have been very trusting of the creators by saying, "This is what we want to accomplish and we’re funding you to create this for us.”
Ready to post a bunch of videos on Vimeo to try to get your hands on an opportunity like this? Hold your horses. The project with Lincoln isn't looking for any more filmmakers, and information explaining how the selection process will be handled the next time around is virtually nonexistent.
But, here's what we do know: of the 4 filmmakers currently working with the Brand Creative Fund on the Lincoln project, 2 of them have a significant number of videos uploaded (Rausch has 70), whereas the other 2 have only 3. So, consistency isn't necessarily a factor. However, every one of them have had Vimeo Staff Picks, so quality is obviously going to be what gets you in. This is speculation of course, but if the current modus operandi gives us any indication of how things will go in the future, all you have to do is:
- Consistently make great videos -- or make one great one -- whatever floats your boat.
- Get a Vimeo Staff Pick.
- Get handpicked.
What do you think about Vimeo's new venture? How do you think this will affect the independent film community on Vimeo and/or elsewhere?