The Week's Best Viral Videos & Video Marketing Lessons - 11/12/2010

The Weeks Best Viral Videos & Video Marketing Lessons   11/12/2010

There are always great new videos being created and uploaded. It's probably one of the best things about the world of video… it's always changing, evolving, and growing.  Every week we try to pick a few  to share with you that really stood out—a few of our favorite viral videos of the week.  We'll also try and briefly analyze each video's rise to popularity, to see if we can spot the triggers that propelled it to the top.

If you're the angry citizens of Cleveland, you splice up the video and make one of your own… one that lambasts James from beginning to end.  Check it out:

Wow.  They are bitter.  And since I'm not from Cleveland and have no idea how they're feeling, I won't judge them for that.  Instead, I'll simply praise them for their viral strategy.  They hopped on another popular video and road its coattails to fame, and playing off a current hot topic or pop-culture trend is always a great way to get some attention.

They also used another trick from the viral toolbox:  the recut.  Literally using another piece of footage in a new way.  And on top of all that… it's funny—the editing between the original and the new clips is very well timed.

Don't be afraid to experiment with video the way a DJ does with a good beat.  Splice, cut, paste, mash-up, overdub… experimentation can often lead to "Eureka!" moments.  Just watch out for copyrights.  I'm not sure why Nike hasn't had this clip pulled, except that it would ultimately only draw even more criticism for James.  Or maybe they see this as covered by the laws regarding parody.  Either way, it's good to remember that anytime you use a clip that you do not own, you run some risks.

Xbox Kinect Pratfalls

At some point in our lives, we've all heard a stand-up comedian make some kind of joke about America's Funniest Home Videos and the high volume of videos they showed involving someone falling down or getting hit in the crotch.  But the truth is… Americans love "accident" videos.  We love to see pratfalls, people falling down, and minor accidents—a smaller portion of the viral audience would also enjoy seeing serious accidents, but I am not one of them.

My second example of a great viral video from this week involves just such an accident.  Specifically, it's a boy and his father (or possibly his grandfather) playing a game on the new controller-less Xbox contraption, Kinect, and somebody gets smacked in the face.  The anticipation is everything.  You know something bad's going to happen, but you're not sure what or when.  Take a look:

Now, I have no way of knowing if this uploader is shooting for a viral video career.  I doubt it.  But regardless, videos are generally uploaded to be shared, and nearly 700,000 have shared this video in the last week.

A great deal of the initial interest in the clip was probably due to the Kinect being featured.  I'm sure there were many searches for phrases involving the word "kinect" around the time of its release, and this video's initial seed viewers probably came from there.  But once they discovered the accident at the end of the clip, its viral rise became all about the pratfalls.  While these things are difficult to fake convincingly, and there's no guarantee you'll ever be in the right place and time to film them, it pays to know what makes the viewing audience laugh and share.  And people hurting themselves might never go out of style.  Don't be afraid to capitalize on your own bloopers.

And the reason for the humor is another old favorite viral ingredient of mine:  juxtaposition.  Taking someone or something and placing it in a world where it seems out of place—sometimes called the "fish out of water" treatment—is a great way to mine for laughs.  Hollywood's been using it for decades, from Mr. Smith Goes To Washington all the way up to Elf.

Juxtaposition works for a couple reasons.  First, it takes your audience by surprise, and surprise is always a great way to grab attention and make sure your video is memorable.  Second, it provides the humor by creating scenarios we've never seen before.  How can you not chuckle at seeing that cook at the end walking into the street, guns blazing, like he's in a John Woo movie?

Think about ways to play with setting and character, and don't be afraid to mix things up.  Audiences are so used to the routine, being unpredictable can be exactly the boost you need to get your video off the ground.

Honorable Mention

If I had time for more than a few examples, I would also talk about:

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About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Christophor Rick

    Nah it's cool heh. Your turf and my turf are just converging is all :D

    In regards to the problems: I'll cheat and send you to GDN heh

    • Jeremy Scott

      Wow. I had no idea. Crazy. Without multiplayer, games like that are fairly useless in my opinion.

  • Christophor Rick

    Get off my turf man!

    Perhaps if Activision had paid LESS ATTENTION to marketing and MORE to the actual game, it wouldn't be the massive piece of crap that it is on the PC where it's so unstable many have been unable to play online due to an alleged "memory leak." I know what the memory leak was, "Oh, we forgot to do quality assurance on it." Opening day they sold 5.6M making $360M... on a piece of software that doesn't work. They should be forced to do a full product recall imho.

    Oddly, I saw the Lebron one for some reason somewhere...I like the recut heh. The Kinect one, well, it clearly states give each other enough room :D I have yet to whack anyone while playing.

    • Jeremy Scott

      Wait... which turf did I invade? Video games? Sorry, man... just a coincidence of video-game-related viral vids. No intentional turf-stompage from me.

      And this is the first I'm hearing about issues with the game not working properly... is it widespread?

    • Mark Robertson

      holy crap - $360M in one friggen day? Damn - we need to work harder, only 359,998,000 left to go :-) I love how we are the only ones to comment on our own shit (of course, there is always hound as well)

      • Christophor Rick

        They topped the previous record, which was Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 last year. They now own the top two media launches ever... MW2 was a better game from what I'm told as I haven't played the new one yet.

        Re; Comments - This happens at GDN as well. On occasion we get a comment from someone but the majority of comments are staff there also heh. It's strange.