One of the best ways for brands and individuals to succeed with online video is to follow the examples set by those who've gone before them. What kind of videos have been a hit with viewers in the past? What kind of experiments have failed? By analyzing this week's best viral videos, we can hopefully learn something--some tip or insight--that we can apply to our own future online video efforts.
One of the most reliable forms of branded social video is actually an old-school advertising tool: the trailer. There's no better way to generate online buzz and social behavior around your movie, TV show, or video game than to release a trailer that is truly compelling. And a few brands have scored viral hits this week in just that way.
Like The Avengers, from Marvel. The film brings together Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, and more heroes for one giant movie adventure. It doesn't even come out until next summer, but its first official trailer is good enough that it's rocketing up the viral charts after only a few days of release. Check it out:
Video games have found a friend in trailers too, with the most anticipated games seeing their trailers get millions or tens-of-millions of views. And it doesn't get any more "anticipated" than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:
The Muppets have a new film coming out next month, and have already scored several viral hits with teaser trailers and goof-trailers spoofing other films. But yesterday they released their first official, traditional trailer. Let's see if it goes viral like the rest of them (I'm putting all my money on "yes"):
Up & Coming Filmmakers
Another week, another great batch of short films from relatively unknown filmmakers.
The short film "The True Origins Of Pizza" is a mockumentary, and it's pretty funny. In addition to the humor, it also looks fantastic:
Vimeo user Page Stephenson isn't the first person to send a balloon into space with a camera on board, but that doesn't make the footage any less compelling or unique:
Another Vimeo filmmaker, Dustin Farrell, climbed to nearly 2 million views in just over a week for his incredible HD film Landscapes: Volume 2:
One of these days I'll have to stop writing about Go Pro, if they ever stop totally dominating with online video. Their own videos are great... the videos they sponsor are great... and the videos that their fans create entirely on their own are great. And they're all starting to run together in one huge pool of engaging content that promotes the Go Pro brand.
This week they gained some more publicity from an amazing video showing a buck colliding with a cyclist, and over 7 million people have already seen it:
Muller is a dairy in the UK. And they're getting viral action this week with one of the most random and bizarre ads I've ever seen. Try to wrap your head around this:
Here's a great brand-based documentary that benefits both the reporting brand (Newsworks) and the subject of the piece (Major League Baseball):
What's the best way to advertise a new basketball video game? Dress up maniac baseball relief pitcher, Brian Wilson, as Larry Bird, of course. Wait... what?
I have to believe Head & Shoulders is pretty happy with how the wax-statue/Troy-Polamalu prank video:
Sometimes I have videos that are really entertaining and worth discussing, and I just can't squeeze them into my little categories. So they find their way to the Grab Bag, which ends up being a consistently wild ride of a section due to the variety.
Like Dude Perfect's latest viral hit, a trick shot battle between a basketball thrower and a frisbee genius:
Who are the crazy-but-brilliant minds behind "a car jumping rope"?:
One Vimeo user's film about the Occupy Wall Street protests:
Get out the Kleenex for our final Grab Bag video--and the video of the week--with Lily's Disneyland Surprise, in which a little girl is so excited and surprised about her birthday gift that she ends up having bit of an emotional meltdown. Don't worry... it's still adorable:
If you just can't get enough video, here are a few more gems from this week:
- The new Simon's Cat episode quickly racked up over 2 million views, as most of them do.
- Same goes for Freddie Wong's latest, "Whose Gun Is It Anyway?"
- Apple's iPhone 4S ad gained a ton of views by simply showing off the product's features.
- The upcoming Nexus Prime, from Samsung, also gained a viral following with this basic hands-on video.
- Oh, look, pop singer Selena Gomez invited her pop-singer boyfriend, Justin Bieber, up on stage with her, and that'll bring the teenagers out to YouTube in droves every time, I imagine.
- Is there ever a time to be thankful that you weren't wearing a seat belt? If so, this video should be one of those occasions.