Welcome back to another Viral Video Lessons Round Up, where we attempt to pick a few of the week's hottest viral hits and figure out why people enjoyed them so much. The hope is that by pulling this success stories apart to see what makes them tick, we'll learn a bit more about this constantly-changing viral landscape… and perhaps help our own future videos go viral as well.
Without further ado:
Caught On Film
One of the most bankable viral video genres is what I like to call "Caught On Film.” This typically involves a great deal of luck, where the person filming just finds themselves in the right place at the right time—and happens to have a camera.
There are three viral successes this week that fall into this category, and rather than pick just one, I thought I'd give you all three to chew on—it will help underscore my point about how easy it can be to get popular if you're lucky enough to film something not ever seen before.
The first of the three, is the Bullfighting video where the bull escapes the ring and charges into the crowd. It's scary to watch, and people are most certainly getting hurt (40 injuries, but no fatalities, thank God)—so I want to warn you about that. But it's not gory. It's not graphic or bloody or anything. But it's not smiling kittens either. If you dare:
Then we have this shocking video of a high speed car accident. Again, this is probably not for the faint of heart, as it shows a car going 65mph or more hitting a ramp and slamming into an overpass. Again, it's grainy dashboard-camera footage (a police cruiser, actually), but it's reality footage of an actual highway accident taking place. If you know you're not interested in that… skip it. Here it is:
All of these videos have two elements going for them that most viral videos cannot recreate—there is something never-before-seen (by most) that is captured on camera, and the creator had to get lucky to get the event on film.
Have you ever filmed a fire tornado before? Me neither, probably because I've never seen or heard of a fire tornado. It's a rare phenomenon. No wonder people enjoy seeing it.
Have you ever captured a high-speed car accident on film? Probably not, since you rarely drive around with a camera running on your dashboard.
Even if videos like this aren't up your alley, there's something to be said for understanding why audiences flock to this kind of so-called "shocking" content. You could plan for these things and never see them or capture them on film, regardless of how hard you try. It's the perfect storm of rare event and fortunate timing, and viral videos don't come any more spring-loaded for success than that. If you can amaze people and make jaws drop, you've got a viral-ready piece of footage on your hands.
Rock Band Of The Future
Our next featured video is called Future Rock Band, and from what I can tell is just a guy with some musical ability and some animation ability… combining those two talents to make a video of what music-based video games might look like in the future. Check it out:
A recurring theme here in the Viral Round Up column is that you stand a better chance of going viral when you combine more than one of the known viral ingredients. In this instance, we have a talented musician (who wrote his own instrumental song). Now… talented musicians can often go viral just on their musicianship alone. But this user adds in another rare talent—animation, or computer-generated graphics. And the combination of the two abilities helped fuel the video's success—it's at nearly 300,000 views in just a day and a half.
There's also a touch of whimsy at work here, as well as the fact that he's playing off the success and popularity of another huge hit—Rock Band—which is a third staple ingredient for success in the viral world. It doesn't hurt that he's making what is probably a very accurate prediction about where music-based video games might actually go in the future.
Rhett and Link are quickly becoming one of the most popular acts on YouTube. They first hit my radar last winter with their stop-motion viral hit, T-Shirt War. But they've had a steady stream of popular videos for some time now—Merton actually gave them a shout out in our interview, saying he really enjoys their work.
And their latest video is a bit of a departure for them. Rather than a funny song or a comedy sketch video, it's a video of them making phone calls on behalf of their fans. They started on Facebook, soliciting suggestions for phone calls they could make, and they got some great material. This is not unlike some of the things Isaiah Mustafa did during the now-infamous Old Spice "storming of the Internet" campaign. They solicited their fans for ideas on who to call and what to say, and then they picked the best suggestions and filmed themselves doing it. Check it out:
It's fun to see them in a bit of a new environment, and they're clearly funny and clever guys whether they have a script or not. I wanted to single out this video as a viral success this week for one important reason—it illustrates the power of leveraging your existing audience to help propel success. A lot of times, we ignore our existing audience in the endless pursuit of new eyeballs. And I think that's a mistake.
With this video, Rhett and Link let the fans drive the content by submitting questions on Facebook. So, in a way, they didn't have to worry about planning and writing content… that portion was covered for them. And it also immediately invested the fans in the video because they would want to see if their question was chosen.
Struggling to come up with your next video idea? Why not ask the people who are already fans? Don't be so obsessed with growing your audience that you fail to take advantage of the audience you do have. Or fail to speak to them, which carries the risk of losing them altogether.
On the heels of our article about vulgarity-going-viral comes this compilation of f-bombs from various movies.
This one-wheeled motorcycle sure looks cool.
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