C.L.E. Clearly Understands The Instagram Assignment

One cigar maker in particular has been consistently improving their social media game, especially since the beginning of the year, in a fun and refreshing way. Though it makes sense that that it would be simple to achieve simplicity, the reality is that it takes a great deal of work and ingenuity to distill an idea or product down to its ideal and most easily intuited form. Apple had to build teams and teams of some of the best designers and programmers in the world to be able to achieve some level of intuitive simplicity, which is to say that simple doesn’t simply mean easy.

Spread across their three main accounts, C.L.E. has grown to almost 62,000 followers on Instagram and have been getting hundreds to thousands of reactions on their posts. While nowhere near the size or reach of the most popular accounts in the world, this milestone is not an easy one to reach for any family-owned business. For one specializing in tobacco, it’s becoming exponentially more difficult with each passing terms of service update.  


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For me, the power of their current strategy is threefold. First, the clips are typically less than 10 seconds long and on some devices begin playing again before we can process that they’ve ended. Because each video clearly focuses on one small step in the production process, It’s obvious where we’re supposed to be looking and what we’re supposed to be seeing. There are no words or other distractions overlaid on the video. This is all important because with all flashing, blinking, glowing, beeping, crashing and dinging our phones feed us it’s nice to be able to just experience something.

Second, the videos almost always showcase a repetitive action. Applying a single band, rotating a single mold, sealing a single box with a perfectly placed ornate label – everything we see is one beautiful moment in a thousand just like it. This tiny slice of infinite attention to detail can quickly become a bit mesmerizing to see on loop. While entertaining to watch, what the clips are really doing is showing how good these skilled operators are at making cigars.

Third, they pick amazingly eclectic music to pair their clips with, tapping into something familiar and nostalgic. Even if it’s not your kind of music, it can’t help but take you somewhere. I’ve shared before that I think cigars can transport you in a way that maybe only food, music and movies can. I like that there is inevitably something for everyone  depending on what times of day you catch them on your feed. Wu-Tang, The Black Keys, Anderson .Paak, Flux Pavillion… there’s just a crazy fun collection of audio collectively present on these feeds.

The reality of the current treatment of cigars by these video hosting and social behemoths is such that even if you do end up curating a channel or account that becomes popular on mainstream social/video platforms, you never know if you could wake up one morning to find that your account has been limited, suspended or banned. While alternative social and video platforms like Social Cigar Public and Rumble provide brands and creators with a tobacco-friendly safe havens for their content, there is no service in existence that brings your community over to a new platform with you. Given this reality, many brands and industry influencers are scrambling to gain some sense of what comes next. We’ll cover it, but in the interim there are those like C.L.E. who aren’t going to be slowed down just because the map isn’t finished yet. While C.L.E. doesn’t allow most of their IG videos to be played outside of the platform, here are a few more links to some other examples that stood out over the past few weeks from the Asylum, Eiroa, and C.L.E. accounts.

What do you think of these quick little peeks into their operations? What other brand’s socials do you want to shine some light on? I’d love to hear about it all in the comments below!