Tag Archives: viral

Models doing ice bucket challenge

Why Did ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Go Viral? 7 Good Reasons.

Models doing ice bucket challenge

Models doing ice bucket challenge

At this moment, marketers around the world are trying to replicate what has happened with the ALS ice-bucket challenge. See the ALS Association website (news) if you’ve somehow missed this unplanned viral campaign that’s exploding from celebrities and your community.

First some context. Few knew until now, but ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It was brought to attention by major league baseball player Lou Gerhig (whose name is synonymous with the disease). I’m happy for ALS because it’s getting the awareness and discussion otherwise reserved for breast cancer.

The ice-bucket challenge isn’t new, but the ALS angle seems to originate as follows: a golf trainer challenged a Sarasota NY professional golfer, Chris Kennedy, to dump a bucket of ice water on his head AND choose a charity to support. In mid-July he took the offer, and chose the ALS because his wife’s cousin has it.

So how did it go viral?

Based on my experience as a “Viral Video Genius,” I’ll now outline seven of the reasons this ALS cold-water challenge has caught fire. Let me confess that while I’m thrilled for ALS awareness, I’m also burnt out on the ice-bucket challenge. I kinda throw up in my mouth when I hear “I nominate…” soon followed by a giggling scream. But please feel free to enjoy the blooper reel: ALS ice-bucket fail compilation video I created. It’s been seen about 75,000 times.

I’ve also provided some examples below to underscore my theories, which are, of course, highly credible since I’m a viral author. So now you’ll sound very sophisticated when you analyze the ice-bucket campaign at work, home and with friends.

  1. als, viral, challenge, secret, why, how

    Why did the ALS ice-bucket, cold water challenge go viral? Easy, timebound, personalized, exponential and charitable.

    It’s one-to-one and exponential. Each person names 3 people they know, so if just half (1.5) of those people respond, it spreads extremely quickly. “Tagging” a person in a video has worked before. Remember naked vlog tag from 2008

  2. Let's just hope that other charitable efforts don't reuse the "ice bucket" like they did with Livestrong bracelets

    Let’s just hope that other charitable efforts don’t reuse the “ice bucket” like they did with Livestrong bracelets

    It’s charitable not commercial. Of course it doesn’t matter what charity has benefited, because it’s unlikely that the majority of this was motivated by a personal connection to ALS. Charitable efforts go viral because they appeal to our generosity (and our desire for recognition of said generosity). Think about the explosive impact of the Hank and John Green (Vlogbrothers) Project for Awesome. If it was breast cancer, we’d have seen this go further. Of course it can’t work for another charity now. Find something new, folks. Don’t pull a “Livestrong Rip” on this.

  3. It’s time bound. The “24 hour” plea is a vital ingredient. That forces the recipient to act or not act. And guilt prevents the latter. These things need to be fast to work, and we know quickly if it’s a success. Think Kony 2012 (Feb 2012 through April 2012), which lasted about 3 months and was forgotten.
  4. Participation is formulaic. People like to join these types of games if the assignment is easy. That’s why the Harlem Shake took off… it was a very short, simple formula that almost anyone could replicate. Do you remember the Chicken Soup dance? Same idea.
  5. It’s easy. With the proliferation of video-enabled smart phones, no editing is required. That factor isn’t exclusive to this challenge, but certainly enables participation by the unwashed masses (instead of elite web or online-video junkies). It’s like a video meme we can all join.
  6. It’s a visceral, visual stunt. Same idea as Gangnam Style, but you don’t need skills.
  7. We like modest pain. It shows our courage and discipline. Remember the cinnamon challenge? I did a “double dog dare” with eating worms, but it unsurprisingly didn’t catch fire. We seem to have a strange fascination especially with getting iced. But most don’t have the conviction to do the “polar bear plunge.” Although frankly, I’d do the plunge to end this campaign.

There is actually an eighth reason that has something to do with wet t-shirts, but I’m not going to count that one.

Old Spice's "Mom Song" from 2014 Superbowl

Old Spice Moms Singing is Superbowl Material

Mother’s everywhere are mourning the loss of their young boys as they become a man. And in this Old Spice “Mom Song” commercial, they’re singing as they stalking their children, clutching to their cars while riding laundry bins, and showing up in odd places like beaches and cafeteria

A superbowl commercial website is calling this ad creepy, but it’s absolutely my favorite Old Spice ad since Mustafa’s “this is what your man could smell like” viral hits of 2009 and 2010. I hope the agency (still Wieden and Kennedy) runs it on the 2014 Superbowl. There’s a also a shorter alternative with a woman popping her head from a bowling ball machine.

old spice mom song lady

The first Old Spice mom in “Mom Song” looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (remember she shouts “two weeks” as her robotic head explodes?).

My day job, when not a Viral Video Genius, is insights strategy at an advertising agency (which works in healthcare and has nothing to do with this spot). I’ve worked with P&G but not in many years.

So I like to try to imagine what “insights” drove this campaign. Here’s my guess:

  • Guys are sold on Old Spice. But moms are buying Old Spice — especially for young teens.
  • Moms see Old Spice as a brand for grownups, and they’re reluctant to let go of their boys.
  • Moms don’t want to be sold Old Spice or told they’re clingy.

So the creative challenge was likely to win over moms  by satirizing the clingy mom who won’t let their kids grow up. “You, dear shopper, do not look like Arnold in drag in Total Recall.”

Note what the spot doesn’t do: it’s not telling moms to “let go,” or “buy Old Spice to help them get the girls,” which would have the opposite of the desired effect. This just in: seems I called it right according to this AdAge piece that attributes the song to musical agency “Walker.”

What ya think? Love it like me? Freaked by it? Think it will work?

How to make counterfeit saddleback leather bag

Bag Designer Uses Video To Teach Counterfeiters

Saddleback leather founder Dave Munson is using YouTube to teach counterfeiters how to knock off his bags. The video is instructional, persuasive,  sarcastic and funny. By showing how counterfeiters do and can save money (using lower quality leather, cheap stitching, inferior metal buckles), Saddleback manages to fortify its own high price point. The clip also communicates the company’s ethics and create a storybook villain out of faceless leather-bag counterfeiters.

saddleback youtube

 

Saddleback has only posted a few dozen videos to its YouTube channel in the past three years, but this “How To Knock Off a Bag” video has been traveling through social media sites (like Reddit) and will soon be its most-viewed.

The takeaway of the clip? If you’re considering making or buying a counterfeit bag, you’d better think not just about what you’ll get… but what it says about you.

My favorite quote (8 minutes in): “the hardware is where you can really make some money. What Saddleback uses is stainless steel 316. What you’re going to want to do is get some nickel plated stuff. So you can nickel plate plastic. You can nickel plate junk, pot medal. You can even nickel plate your crack pipe.”

Munson’s sometimes biting sarcasm is offset by his smile, enthusiasm for the quality of his leather, and a charming moment where he uses candy to lure kids into his plant… not for low-cost labor but for “take your children to work day.”

saddleback child labor

His advice to counterfeiters shows where they can cut corners that will make knockoffs look and feel great, even if they won’t last: “And you will end up saving more money than you will ever make with those gold fillings and jewelry that you get when you dig up those graves,” he says with a warm grin.

I’ve been a long-time fan of the company’s tagline: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” And Dave uses more language and a non-salesy tone to build additional emotion around his craftwork — like the line “take this bag with you through life to hold all your memories.” May I add that this video has increased my longing for one of these Saddleback front pocket briefcase? It’s almost $600… so free to buy me one, mom or rich viewer.

And an added plus? In the coming months, what do you think people will find when they search counterfeit Saddleback? Maybe a video that makes them second guess their pursuit?

viral, marketing, horror, movie, prank, youtube

Possessed Baby Stroller Prank: Screamingly Good Viral Marketing

Hear a baby crying in a stroller in NYC? May want to let that pass. Could be a devil baby that contorts itself and pukes. In this particular case, it may be a robot designed by the folks at Thinkmodo for another horror film promotion (remember the Carrie telekinetic prank in a NYC coffee shop?). This one is to promote “Devil’s Due,” and in about 24 hours it’s past 15 million views (1/16 update: 26 million views in 2 days). That, friends, is viral.

It’s “Devil Baby Attack” and it’s taking YouTube by storm. I’m probably most impressed by the way I learned about this. On a phone call with my mom this evening. I guess I’ll have to call her more often.

Some feedback/thoughts:

  • The prank is beautifully executed from beginning to end. We’re shocked. Then we see behind-scenes. No wasted shot.
  • Excellent job on “seeding” it. There’s no way it would have been seen this many times — so quickly — without a smart promotion of the clip itself (bloggers, journalists, etc).
  • Given the 22K comments, I’d say the majority of the views are real views. When videos are “gamed,” you see a really low number of comments. Rough math: 22K comments divided by 15 million views is .0015 percent of viewers commented. With more programatic  stuff, you see a slightly better ratio. For instance a recent RWJ video got 200K views and 1,700 comments (.0085 percent).
  • I would love to see a bit more of the off camera laughs and the team behind it — It helps when the viewer has a chance to connect more with the creators. But it’s a horror film promo so I suppose you have to keep it somewhat dark and mysterious.
  • I’m glad we’re no longer concerned about making these appear non sponsored. The video’s end reveals it’s a promo. And if you’re gonna have a logo at the end, there’s no shame in providing a link to the movie site for Devil’s Due (www.devilsduemovie.com). This would drive traffic to the film site’s real trailers and almost invariably help convert more of these 15 million views into ticket-paying customers. Even better: give us a reason to hit the horror site. As long at the viral stunt is this good, we’ll forgive the plug at the end.

Finally, a note to Thinkmodo team: for the love of God people, I missed my invite to these productions. I’ll consult for free to see you guys pull the next one off. I’m one of YouTube’s most-viewed pranksters, an author of a book on viral video marketing, an advertising executive and a horror fan. And I can keep a secret. What else do you need? 

Thinkmodo created the robotic possessed baby to promote the film "Devil's Due."

Thinkmodo created the robotic possessed baby to promote the film “Devil’s Due.” Who’s missing from this shot, friends?

G'day, mate. It's hot out here. Mind if I step in for a cold one?

Black Poisonous Snake on Windshield in Australia

G'day, mate. It's hot out here. Mind if I step in for a cold one?

G’day, mate. It’s hot out here. Mind if I step in for a cold one?

So these Australian mates found a red belly black snake on their windshield.

Bloke named Ben Lehmann turned on his windshield wipers on the viper, but that didn’t work. The snake manages to slither along the driver’s side window, and holds tight even as the car begins to pick up speed.

The video is titled “Red Belly Black vs. Leemon in the UTE part one…” and part two. And here’s the coverage in the Telegraph. The UK’s DailyMail has the best coverage here.Just love this crap. Just love it. Watch the language… it bites.

So that reminds me… a guy was at a movie theater last week to see the Catching Fire debut. He notices what looks like a snake sitting next to him. “Are you a snake?” asked the man, surprised. “Yes.” “What are you doing at the movies?” The snake replied, “Well, mate, I liked the book.”

 

Skyrim Homage: One Voice. One Violin. Epic Video.

Yes, Virginia. You can still go viral… if you have an original idea and push production to a new level. It also helps to pay tribute to a popular video game.

Here’s a video homage to Skyrim Elder Scrolls (a video game), an epic video that’s been seen more than a million times in the past few days. It features 120 tracks of Peter Hollens‘ voice and Lindsey Stirling‘s violin. The musicians are also the video’s actors, and the video was shot in Provo, Utah late last month. As one YouTube commenter states, “why is this not the most watched video of all time?

The duo began tracking the song in early March, and it helped that Hollens is friends with Larry Kenton, the original arranger for the video game’s score.

“Over beer and some sushi we discussed Skyrim, and I asked if he thought it would be a good idea to cover it,” said Hollens. “Then I talked to Lindsey Stirling about doing it together; she is not just insanely talented but incredibly nice.”

Stirling’s friend, Devin Graham, shot the video using the new Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, with a 18-35mm and the Glidecam 2000 pr thingy.  The video was edited in Final Cut Pro by Lindsey, and the special effects were done by Warialasky.

Stirling’s participation, said Hollen, surprised him. “It blew me away cause she’s the BIG wig, and that never happens on youtube…  She saw a video I did with another YouTuber, and wanted to work together. This when she had 300,000 subs and I had only about 15,000. That’s RARE nowadays.” Hollen’s subscription count has practically doubled in the past week, a direct result of the Skyrim video catching fire. It helps that Hollens has some other popular videos including this Katy Perry Fireworks cover.

Hollens told me he read my book too, so I’d like to take credit for the entire thing… seriously, though, see links below to learn more.

online video marketing youtube

Download the song off itunes http://bit.ly/SkyrimTheme
…or at this link http://bitly.com/SkyrimDownload

Peter Hollen’s channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/peterhollens

Devin Graham cinematography:
http://www.youtube.com/user/devinsupertramp
Warialiasky on special effects work.
http://www.youtube.com/user/Warialasky
This was their own arrangement of the main theme from Skyrim Elder Scrolls which was composed by Jeremy Soule.
Arr. Tom Anderson – http://www.random-notes.com
Edit: Ben Lieberman – http://audiogenix.net/
Mix: Bill Hare – http://www.dyz.com

Peter and Lindsey on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/peterhollensmusic -
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lindsey-Stirling/132255980139931

QuadSpot Interviews Viral Video Genius

And TheQuadSpot interviewed me for a surprisingly polished show for amateurs. Watch. Again it’s free.

Seriously I’m just going to blog about myself for a while. It’s what bloggers do, right? I had a chicken sandwich on Weight Watchers bread. I’m down more than 20 pounds since I shot The Unlicensed Therapist. As Zipster08 might have said: I was doughy, mkay?

ReelSEO Interviews Viral Video Genius

Tim Schmoyer interviews the Viral Video Genius for ReelSEO. Get smart, be entertained, watch Tim try to salvage an interview with me.

Three so far… three coming. Enjoy. They’re free. Comment below about how awesome we are.

Your Viral Video Shouldn’t Be a Commercial (Celebrity Apprentice Lesson)

Perhaps you watched Celebrity Apprentice last night, where the b-listers teamed up to create a “viral” video for O-Cedar’s ProMist Spray Mop.

Note that I put “viral” in quotes since it’s not a viral video unless it goes viral. For that matter, let’s call it what it is: try-ral. It’s trying. It may go viral, but it’s not.

This isn’t the first time Celebrity Apprentice has tasked the (has-been but charming) celebrities to create a “viral” video. But here’s my favorite quote from NJ.com on the coverage and the decision made in the boardroom after the competition:

The execs didn’t get the women’s “number” concept initially but liked the entertainment aspect of the video. They liked the men’s slogan… and thought the concept was clear and highlighted the mop’s selling points, although the video was a bit too much like a traditional commercial. The men win.

Did you notice anything there? The video was a bit too much like a traditional commercial, but… by the way… it won.

At the risk of stating the obvious, please don’t learn from this. They didn’t win despite the video being too commercial. They won because the women’s video was entertaining but not purposeful. That’s not good either. But if your “viral” video is a commercial, prepare to spend your media dollars to get it seen as prerolls. We almost never share commercials… we sometimes send entertaining videos that happen to pitch a brand.

Do not expect people to share your commercial. Please.

Best Cartoon About Viral Video

Meet Tom Fishburne. He’s a former marketer that got wise and is pursuing his passion. Much like someone we know, who eventually sold out to corporate America again. I met Tom when he spoke at J&J and he looks like the kid in Sixth Sense.

This cartoon is brilliant because it reflects the naive hope that a viral-intended video will certainly go viral… and drive sales. If you haven’t heard this blather you may not find it as funny as me.

I wish I had it to include in Beyond Viral.

Nalts005