3 Common Viral Video Tactics

by Tony Tie April 11th, 2011 

A while back, I wrote a post about the challenges and considerations agencies face when creating an online video presence. The hope and goal for many brands is for their video to go "viral". Unfortunately "viral" is a result, not something that can be created. As such, one can't simply "create" a viral video. But boy, do they sure try.

In this article I will outline 3 of the most common techniques marketers have used to make their brand/product video in an attempt to go "viral".

Make it "reality-based"

In the early days, agencies produced a video that was seemed real, but was actually staged. This technique did in fact work, but had a negative affect on the brand/product once viewers caught on. As such agencies were challenged to produce "real" content that was compelling. To achieve this, they create amusing "crafty" type videos. They are reality-type videos that film the reaction of the unsuspecting public to a spectacularly creative stunt or interaction. The most popular of these are Flash Mobs. T-mobile was the first major brand to have garnered viral success with flash mobs. It wasn't long until other brands followed suit.

These crafty-reality based videos have since evolved. The result is a variety of highly creative videos that still capture an unsuspecting public on a spectacular interaction.

Make it cute
It goes without saying that cute animals and babies are among the most watched on youtube. Even before the advent of the internet, ads featuring animals or babies always do well. For marketers the incorporation of "cute" elements is an easy transition for their video campaigns. Unlike the types of the videos previously mentioned, cute videos don't have to be reality based. A prime example is the Evian commercial.

Make it hilarious
This is an umbrella category as cute and reality-based videos are included. Before viral video marketing became a serious component to the marketing mix, humour was, and still is, in hot demand for commercial campaigns. In fact, many commercial directors and agency creatives have re-branded themselves to include humour as part of their reel. Dry humour was for years, king. For the internet, a humourous video that is "remixable" or "remadeable" by other users often works best. When the video itself can become a meme, it is bound to go viral. What went famously viral was the Old Spice commercial. Although it did spread from its debut on tv, the viral effect cannot be ignored. The commercial has been remade many times by many users and companies.

Have you spotted other common tactics I forgot to mention? Add them in the comments

Tony Tie

Tony Tie worked in the world of advertising and video production for a few years. He worked on many TV commercial campaigns before switching to the online industry. He currently works with many large international brands and agencies to strengthen their on-line presence. He is also the founder to THiNK Video - an explainer video company. Follow him on Twitter @tonytie

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