What makes videos viral?

Charlie Bit My Finger, T-Mobile’s Welcome Back video, Kony 2012…All of these videos turned into global phenomena in mere weeks, but what do they have in common that makes them go viral?

I’m not convinced that there is such a thing as the right formula for a viral video. People talk about creating virals, but most of the time, I want to ask them who they think they’re kidding. Sure, you can create great video content, and you can put a large amount of money behind it to get exposure, but that doesn’t always mean that people are going to want to watch and share it.

There are certain elements that make videos go viral. Humour and human interest, if they hit the right spots with enough people, are two such ingredients (I’m thinking along the lines of the sneezing panda here), but surely the absolute must for a company trying to produce something that will be shared is creativity, and the foresight to anticipate and tap into the zeitgeist (which seems unerringly fickle) and engage with it.

Advertising agencies are having to work harder and harder to get their message out there thanks to the ubiquity of commercials in everyday life. The iGeneration has grown up with TV adverts, full page magazine spreads and online banner advertising to the point where many are now numb to its effects. So a new way of reaching the public has to be found and the solution, for now, is engaging video content shared via social media.

The best brand-produced videos seem to be the ones that take one element to focus on. They make us laugh (Dollar Shave Club), appeal to our inner child (VW’s ‘The Force’) or they get banned from TV, meaning as curious creatures we immediately head for YouTube on hearing they’re banned to find out why. And with a few exceptions, the product comes second; we’re lured into the story of the commercial before being given the punchline.

This leads me, in the spirit of great ideas, to share with you some of my favourite branded virals. I tend to go for humour over emotion or sentimentality, hence my choices, but in each it’s clear how a simple idea has been cleverly turned into a viral phenomenon with mass appeal.

– Contrex: Ma Contrexperience – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEH4Yum4nN4

– T-Mobile: Angry birds – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzIBZQkj6SY

– Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE

Please feel free to share your favourites!

About GForces

GForces is Europe’s leading provider of digital solutions to the automotive industry. Working with more of the UK Top 200 dealer groups, more OEMs and more international businesses than any rival, we help our clients navigate and maximise their online presence across mobile and desktop platforms.
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Author: GForces (634 Articles)

GForces is Europe’s leading provider of digital solutions to the automotive industry. Working with more of the UK Top 200 dealer groups, more OEMs and more international businesses than any rival, we help our clients navigate and maximise their online presence across mobile and desktop platforms.

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