If there's a theme this week for the Viral Video Round Up, it's this: Expect the unexpected. Nearly all the videos featured in this week's study have an element of surprise to them. Some are just shocking. Some take a hard left turn half way through the video. But they all have unexpected moments, which undoubtedly helped propel them all to viral glory. Let's take a look:
We YouTube viewers are a cynical bunch these days. If a video is even remotely hard to believe, we like to cry "Fake!” I guess this is the fault of the people who have actually faked videos. Because there are some famous viral videos that turned out to be staged, we're now conditioned to be suspicious of nearly every video we see that shows us something amazing or unexpected.
Of course, this is actually a good thing for those videos. The controversy and conflict over a video's authenticity is almost always a catalyst for viral success, as many viewers can't help but pass the clip along to friends. "You'll never believe this… it's gotta be fake!”
This week I stumbled across two great videos that contain amazing events. Both could easily have been faked, and yet I don't think either one was. The first is Kung Fu Bear. No, that's not a sequel to Kung Fu Panda. It's a clip of a bear in a Japanese zoo, grabbing a piece of bamboo and playing with it. But his playfulness looks an awful lot like how a ninja turtle fighting style:
Now, I have found plenty of people online who corroborate the uploader's story that this bear actually does this frequently… and that this is not faked. Of course, it's not terribly hard to fake those kinds of supportive comments either. So there's still plenty of disagreement over the video's fakeness. Hence… viral video success.
Another viral hit this week that had people crying "fake" was this video from Dude Perfect, a troop of basketball trick-shot artists:
Yes. He just made that shot from a moving airplane. Presumably. Count me on the side that thinks it's probably real… mostly because the plane is going so slow and flying so low that it's plausible to me. It's really more of a "trick drop" than a "trick shot," but that makes it no less impressive.
Write this on the 10 Commandments of Viral: Videos that feature never-before-seen activities, stunts, or accomplishments have a huge advantage in the race to go viral. The more the depicted act straddles the line between believable and unbelievable… the more its chances for success increase.
I cannot get enough of our next video, Iron Baby. No, it's not a toddler singing "I Am Iron Man.” Nor is it a baby with Shaolin-type strength in his forearms or stomach muscles. Rather, it is an awe-inspiring piece of CGI work that has a baby filling the shoes of superhero Iron Man. Check it out:
This video was uploaded earlier today, and already has more than half a million views. The effects work is some of the best I've seen—which made me initially suspect this was a late-blooming viral offering from the film studio itself. It's actually the work of Patrick Boivin, a filmmaker from Canada who makes a lot of stop-motion stuff.
This video just hits the sweet spot between artistic accomplishment and humor. And it has a cute baby in it—and the Internet loves cute babies. It also probably doesn't hurt that Iron Man 2 is in theaters and squarely on the mind of the public. But this could have come out six months ago and it would have been just as big a smash hit. Humor and jaw-dropping talent will almost always find an audience; the fact that this video scores so highly in each of those categories sealed its fate as a viral success long before it went online.
There's a hot new video game you may have read about, from Rockstar Games (the people that make the Grand Theft Auto series), and it's called Red Dead Redemption. The pitch is this: Grand Theft Auto style gameplay, in an Old West setting.
That description alone was enough to sell me several months ago, and now that I've actually played the game once or twice, I can tell you it's perfectly accurate. The game is very fun, and incredibly popular.
And it also has a few glitches that are quite humorous. As gamers have discovered these glitches, videos have been slowly appearing online about them. The two most popular are Donkey Lady and Flying People.
Now, videos of glitches or video game easter eggs are nothing new. But most don't ever see the kind of popularity these two have (one near a million views, the other around 300,000). So what makes these glitch videos so much more successful as viral hits than previous ones?
Well, first of all, they feature the single most-talked-about-game of the moment. Had these videos not surfaced until several months from now, their view counts would almost certainly be much lower. These videos are striking while the iron is hot, so to speak.
But mostly, they're just funny. The two commentators on the Donkey Lady video are having so much fun with the glitch themselves that it's infectious. They're likable, charming fellows. In the second clip, the choice of soundtrack to go behind the footage is inspired, and only makes an already humorous video even more so.
What I love is the ultimate outcome on these videos is a "win" for everyone. The people uploading the clips get lots of views and exposure (one of the clips was featured on Attack of the Show). Rockstar Games is certainly pleased with the added attention being given their new flagship game—after all, these glitches aren't affecting or hindering core game-play, but rather are simply entertaining distractions, so it's probably helping them sell more games after all is said and done. And the fans—the viewers—just get good content. Everyone wins.
So many video hits this week that it was nearly impossible to choose which ones to feature. Thankfully, this handy Honorable Mention section gives me a chance to drop in a few more gems like:
- This video of Lost recreated by cats
- This new commercial offering from the two guys behind T-Shirt War, which we featured a couple months ago.
- And this heartwarming video I'm calling the feel-good story of the week, where a police officer rescues a dog, only to have something fairly hilarious happen.