Once a week, I take a little time out from the more serious online video pursuits to compile a round up of the week's best viral videos. Some are from amateurs, some come from brands, and some come from video producers who straddle the line between the two. But in every viral video success there is some lesson or nugget of truth that all video marketers can learn from and apply to their own efforts.
YouTube is a great many things. It's a a place for home videos, branded advertising, and musicians. It's also an emerging venue for the visual arts, acting as a worldwide gallery for artists of all varieties.
Like Joel Gardiner and Coty Galloway, who make up the YouTube Channel pwnisher. This week they released the short film, Cardboard Warfare 2, and it's awesome:
War continued to be a popular theme this week when Machinima brought us Paul Oakenfold's Beautiful Machine, a live-action short-film homage to Gears Of War and Half Life 2:
There are a host of great dancers in the world, and a large number of them are on YouTube. But some dancers are so exceptional, and so far beyond their peers, their work can only be described as art. Like the star of our next video, who does not seem to respond very well to gravity:
YouTube is also a great launching pad for performance artists. Like Remi Gaillard, who is up to his usual prank-based antics again:
It's not every day a brand new art style is invented. So when Amy Shackleton unveiled a time-lapse look at the very unique, gravity-based method of painting she's developed, the Internet responded by rewarding her with much-desered viral views:
Branded Video Goodness
As usual, there were a handful of brands that really nailed it this week, striking the right balance between their marketing message and entertainment, leading viewers to help spread the word virally.
Red Bull continued their winning ways with online video, again turning to slow-motion, with Formula 1 Comes To America:
Adidas is getting some great early buzz on this new ad featuring Derek Rose of the Chicago Bulls... playing the role of the actual bull:
Danish brewing company, Carlsberg, scored a hit with a bit of a social experiment, revealing what happens when theater patrons find an auditorium completely full of bikers:
Ford Motor Company showed that you don't always even need a script to go viral, as they've picked up all kinds of views for this very simple demonstration video of a new Ford feature designed to stop door dings:
Even brands you've never heard of--or worse, brands you might have considered boring--can succeed with great online video that entertains. Take HTH Pool Care, an online seller of pool care products. They recruited some students to create a human-swimming-pool version of the famous Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas:
Consistent YouTube Stars
There are exciting new YouTube creators emerging every month, but the way was paved by the pioneering work of the first generation of YouTube stars. And most of those stars are still at the top of their game.
Freddie Wong might as well have a permanent place in this column. I can't remember the last video he put out that wasn't awesomely entertaining, and I bet you'd have to go back years to find one that didn't grab a half a million views or more.
This week's video is called Splinter Cell: Lightbulb Assassin, and it covers familiar Freddie territory: video game action:
The Fine Brothers are still cranking out great videos, and are even still pursuing their "Kids React" series, this time showing the classic viral video clip, Star Wars Kid, to a bunch of modern children to get their feedback:
Epic Meal Time made a ridiculous S'more, and it's predictably... epic:
FPS Russia is one of the newer YouTube stars in this group, but their rise has been meteoric. Their videos routinely have millions of views, in part because of the giddy appreciation the host shows for firing some of the world's most interesting and powerful weapons:
Trailers & Teasers
Any piece of entertainment content forth its salt these days is going to take advantage of the buzz-building mechanism known as the trailer.
Puss In Boots, the upcoming Shrek spin-off, tried to capture some viral action by paying tribute to the classic Old Spice Man campaign--and what do you know... it worked, and the video has well over a million views:
The upcoming George Clooney film, Ides Of March, has racked up a million views in just one week, in part helped by the fact that they paid for sponsored placement on YouTube searches:
Comedy Central's upcoming documentary on the making of South Park, "6 Days To Air," put out a trailer this week. It looks very interesting, and should easily appeal to fans of the show:
Trailers aren't just for movies anymore, as Battlefield three proves with a hugely-popular new gameplay trailer featuring the music of Jay-Z:
If you're a video junkie and just can't stop, or if you're just looking for a way to prolong the Friday work day a few more minutes, here are a handful of more great videos from this week:
- The Imperial March from Star Wars played by a couple of floppy disc drives? Yeah, that exists.
- If you like cuss words, particularly the "f" word, you'll enjoy this supercut of movie cussing.
- This is one of the most amazing catches I've ever seen in sports.
- Dear baseball fans: catching a foul ball is important, but slightly less important than keeping your child safe.
- Aurora, as seen from space (yes, it's incredible).