The question is how?
Should be simple but the conundrum I’ve run into is that viral videos aren’t a simple music video, cartoon or crazy stunt. They don’t need some guy going berserk in his office or asking his girlfriend to marry him in front of thousands of people.
It’s something else, something more the equation or recipe is more akin to a great piece of music than a great story.
Here’s what I’ve discovered…
They have to have a hook, they have to build anticipation, they must entertain and in doing so they must captivate us as an audience. Yet, not all viral videos receive the kind of attention their creators were seeking when they planned them out. Some fall flat on their faces while others get more attention than the product they’re supposed to be representing.
If you look at any listing of viral videos what you’ll see right now is that most of them are music videos in the top 10. I blame MTV for abandoning the demographic that needs them most and those people are the teenagers and young adults but that’s neither here nor there. So what’s going on what is it that people want that drives them to covet what they find and then share it with others. It’s the fourth ingredient that allows a video to come out of nowhere and fixate us for awhile.
Connection, an emotional connection is necessary for a viewer to first be hooked and in being hooked have building anticipation about “what’s going to happen next?” sometimes they’ll have an idea what will happen but the emotional connection will drive them through to the inevitable conclusion. Connection is why amongst all of these music videos and clips of people injuring themselves doing stupid stunts you’ll have touching vignettes where there’s a message of hope, perseverance, love, outrage, any of the powerful emotions really. Why else would a video about a dead cat and its friend’s need to be with it have well over 2 million views as of this writing? Because of the emotional connection the video as a whole creates with it’s audience.
So what are the emotions you can connect with as a potential viral video creator?
Any combination of the above will do.
So knowing that you have to connect with your audience how do you accomplish that and still fit your message in there without becoming overly commercial? The problem with some viral videos is that the message is so overly subtle that it’s lost on its audience entirely.Watch the following.
Did you know that was a viral video for the movie Wanted?
Quite different from the theatrical trailer for the film with over 8 million views across the various iterations of it isn’t it?
So it missed the mark and I’m back at my original problem. How do I connect, hook, generate anticipation/ anxiety and entertain about laptops while staying on message to encourage sharing? I was hoping writing this out would help flesh out some ideas but I think I’m back to where I began…. Puppets.