Every week I keep a running list of great viral videos I've come across for use in this column, and in the nearly two years I've been writing it, I've never had a list of videos worth sharing that was as long as this week's. I think I'm getting obsessed with finding great videos. That's good news for you, I suppose, as it translates into more great viral examples for you to enjoy from across a wide variety of topics and styles.
Several trailers had big debuts this week, and a few had outrageous success. Movie trailers always grab big view totals, especially around the Super Bowl. But one upcoming big movie, X-men: First Class, decided to launch its first big preview after the big game. Only a week later, it has nearly 8 million views. There's an art to crafting a great trailer, and it doesn't really have anything to do with how good or bad the eventual movie is. And this trailer is very well made:
But people make trailers for all sorts of things--not just movies. Video games, for example. And one video game trailer absolutely exploded late this week, for a game that doesn't even have a release date. It's called Dead Island, and the trailer isn't even comprised of actual game footage. But it's still amazing (Warning: it's a zombie game, so... blood and stuff):
Sometimes you can see viral action from a trailer that isn't even for a real movie. In the comic books, superheroes like Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and Captain America all live in the same universe and fight together as The Avengers. As Marvel preps an actual Avengers movie--with the stars from the other films along for the ride--one fan is too impatient to wait. So he assembled what footage he could find from completed films and recent trailers into a fan-made trailer for The Avengers:
It might sound strange to say it, but one of the best ways to build some viral marketing action in the real world for your upcoming film, game, or product... is to put out a viral video for it... in the form of a trailer. If it's done right, it can build anticipation like nothing else.
The Cult Of Mario
Nothing rivals the pop-culture power and impact of Star Wars... but Mario's getting up there. The star of many Nintendo hits transcends cultural boundaries and resonates with pretty much anyone 40 or under.
Comedian Remi Gaillard knows the power of Mario, from the 36 millions views on his original "Mario Kart Real Life" video. His latest one is only a week old, and already has over 4 million:
But there's another video creator that likes to merge video games and real life, named Freddiew, and he just put out his own Real Life Mario Kart video:
Another Mario video with some rising views this week was actually uploaded last June. It stars a young man playing the Mario theme song and game sound effects... all on a violin:
Referencing a cultural icon is always a good way to curry favor with the audience, especially when that icon has such reach into different age groups and demographics. It can be a fantastic lead in to show off your talent, such as playing the violin or creating computer graphics.
Global Viral Videos
Some videos don't need to be fully understood to be appreciated. Language barriers can be broken pretty easily when the other content in the video is universally understood.
Like this cat, apparently in Russia, who falls so far behind his friends he has to ask a human which way they went:
Or this "real or fake?" clip of a little girl floating in the woods:
Put me down as a vote for "fake," by the way.
There's also this poor fellow, who performs what might be the greatest boxing match intro ever, only to perform less-than-admirably in the ring:
Again, language is only one of the ways we can communicate and share emotions. Heck, this is exactly why video is quickly becoming the content style of choice on the web--because it can convey so much more than simple text. When thinking about viral video concepts, it can't hurt to put the script aside for a moment and think about how the action itself succeeds at getting the point across.
Super-sized Honorable Mention
Tons of Honorable Mention videos this week, including an unusually large number from Vimeo.
- The New York Times gained unprecedented access to Pixar headquarters and put up a fantastic behind-the-scenes video.
- Ross Phillips is a Vimeo user who won this year's Grey Scale Gorilla 5 Second Project contest with this little gem (his entry from last year's contest is just as great)
- Director Steven Huybrechts put together an awesome little film featuring iconic television shows shot in miniature.
- I spend more time browsing at Vimeo than ever before these days, and found a mesmerizing clip of swarming fish (the video is 2 years old, but most of its views are quite recent).
- Did you know San Francisco has a public, annual Valentines Day pillow fight? Me neither.
- I don't really know what a sugar glider is, but this video makes me want one.
- Some cats just aren't big fans of stuffed animals.
- This capybara standing under a stream of water is surprisingly compelling.
- Someone recreated Back To The Future using Little Big Planet 2