One thing that really does my head in during client or agency meetings is that there is alway some genius that asks for a Viral.
I mean really, “Hi, this is our new detergent, can we make a viral?” er… sure I mean that how it works. Charlie biting that kids finger, all planned and scripted. Rebecca Black planned on have everyone take the piss out of her crap song – not her musical abilities. Sure
Thing is Virals are not planned, they are attempted. At that next brainstorm, change the wording to “Lets attempt to create a clip that will go viral” much easier. Think about it, if there was a guaranteed sience to making something go viral, then we wouldn’t have virals. Everything would be clocking 50 million views and nothing would stand out.
There is nothing worse then being given a really bad clip and having a client ask for it to “go viral” – Yes you could probably buy a load of views, but does that mean that it was something that users wanted to forward? Is that not just some service that gives that little injection of views then still you hope it will go viral. Hopefully someone famous may see it? Mention it? tweet it? Which brings me to a video I watched on TED recently :
A video from TED presented by Kevin Alloca. (Trend watcher at YouTube), It tells us there are three things to take into account that will help something go Viral – Tastemakers, Communities and Unexpectedness.
To me this sums it all up. Simply put, get these right and you may (not definitely) get somewhere.
Obviously having that influencer or celeb tweet or share a clip will give you that view count you probably need, this will cause a chain reaction. From moving up on Youtube’s most viewed and search returns, to buzzing on social channels. (not just Youtube of course, Vimeo, funny or die)
Communities such as the Reddits and the youtube channels getting hold of a clip and remixing it, mashing it up, copying it, commenting on it, slating it is massively powerful. Every single interaction by these communities be it negative or positive is going to give that much more exposure.
Then there is the unexpectedness – when something you uploaded explodes. Goes crazy, or viral as you would call it – out performs what you thought it would do. A measurement of this, first off, is when the clip is completed or sent to you – would you forward it? Really? Is it unique? A rip off? Is it interesting? Forced? As I mentioned earlier, the content has to be unique, amazing, crazy…. something that would make you talk about. Sometimes it doesn’t come from a brief… it just happens. Can you imagine how The Drumming Gorilla for Cadburies was pitched? I mean, who sold that in… how did it get past? Yet its probably one of their most successful campaigns to date. (regarding Awareness)
In short, we all want that campaign to go viral. Reach Old Spice or Kony 2012 heights, and it can be achieved. But not with every brief that lands on your desk. Remind your clients – We will attempt for this to go viral. Not, we will make a viral. there is no formula for this for it to work everytime. Whoever created Nyan cat probably did not expect it to do what it did. Shit now that tunes in my head
Here is Kevin’s talk. Really good. Might not play in an iDevice though as the embed is flash. Go here to watch on TED