Viral Video: A Digital Marketing Art Form

October 3, 2012 Uberflip

The use of video sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo have changed the way audiences engage with companies. As a medium where constant replay is possible, marketers have capitalized on the creation and distribution of contagious video content that draws instant audience attention. With some of these videos being viewed thousands to millions of times, they hold the potential to create a large global impact across multiple influential audiences. How can you tap into this global sharing trend? Here are 5 common themes and examples to keep in mind when developing your own viral video content:

Offer a Behind the Scenes Look:

By tapping into the human intuition to ask “why” or “how” things happen, audiences can be intrigued when they are offered an exclusive view behind the scenes. By breaking down and solving the mystery of a product or company, marketers can develop natural relationships between brands and their audiences. In this video,  McDonald’s Canada developed a very visual way to answer one of the fast food industry’s most prominent questions: why does food look different in advertisements compared to the in-store product? By taking viewers through the process of developing a photo for advertising, this video sheds light on the extreme effort that goes into creating a photo and also addresses criticism surrounding the quality of McDonald’s food.

Embrace Humour:

Humourous content that delivers laughs and chuckles has the ability to create an unforgettable experience that audiences will want to share. Old Spice’s “The man your man could smell like” features a half-naked, perfect looking man who challenges the limits of the advertising phrase “sex sells”. Speaking directly to the audience with funny lines while being taken through a montage of different scenes, the video creates a  humorous parody of explicit fantasy. The bizarre content allows for the audience to laugh along with the joke at hand and creates an engaging and memorable experience, not only with the video, but also with the brand.

Involve The Masses:

Most of us enjoy watching other individuals in candid moments. Videos that contain elements of anticipation engage an audience visually and can be truly memorable due to their unpredictability. TNT’s  ’push button to add drama ‘ video places a red button in the middle of a Berlin street and waits for an innocent passerby to push it. Documenting the flash-mob based action scene that unfolds after,  the audience watching the video becomes just as shocked as the unknowing spectators within the event. Allowing the masses to become content producers, these types of videos deviate away from organized commercial quality and create an organic brand experience for participants and viewers.

Push Boundaries:

Videos that touch on sensitive issues or feature shocking content make a lasting emotional impression on audiences. In the UK, Volkswagen developed a creative way to get their serious message heard by their audience. Teaming up with one of the country’s most popular make-up tutorial videobloggers, Volkswagen addressed the issue of doing makeup while driving. The tutorial, titled “Crash Course To Shine”, features the beloved blogger showing audiences how to apply metallic eyeshadow and is then abruptly propelled forward as if being hit by a car. This unexpected action shocks audiences and drives home the serious message Volkswagen wants to convey.  The creation of compelling and emotional content allows for audiences to identify with and become personally attached to the issues at hand.

Connect Your Audiences:

Most brands work hard to develop content that portrays value to audiences in a subliminal way. However, these values are even more powerful when they build a deeper meaning and connect audiences on a personal level. Google’s annual Zeitgeist videos go beyond the function of the search engine itself and dig deeper into the global connections that have been created through its use. Documenting 2011’s most searched terms, phrases, and events, the video creates an emotional montage of democratic belonging that makes every Google user feel part of the bigger picture.

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