If I showed you the list of potential videos for this week's round up, you guys would certainly begin to worry about me. I have a problem. I can't stop finding, collecting, and watching online videos. Thankfully, my responsibilities here at ReelSEO allow me to mask that addiction as "research." So now, in the name of science, I give you the week's best viral videos--along with some quick lessons we can learn from them as we go forth in our own video marketing endeavors.
Home Video Gems
I've said this before, but there's a reason America's Funniest Home Videos was on the air so long: people love seeing funny home videos. Sometimes they're bloopers or accidents, and other times they're just endearing slices of life we can all relate to. There will always be a market for this kind of thing.
Like this Spanish father, who employs some of the slickest reverse psychology on his son that I've ever seen. Seriously... look up "reverse psychology" in the dictionary, and this video will be embedded:
That guy is a parenting ninja. The kid doesn't even know he's been had!
Another fantastic father stars in our next video, and you might recognize him from a previous viral hit. He enjoys singing with his daughter, who actually appears to enjoy it more than he does. For a dose of adorable father/daughter bonding, enjoy:
It's so easy to see why audiences have fallen in love with those two. Just a slice of life, suggesting a fantastic parent/child relationship.
Of course, a lot of viral home videos aren't about people at all, they're about pets. Like cats that don't want to get up in the morning:
Or lazy cats that like TV:
Home videos work because viewers can relate. And they like living vicariously through others. I'm still waiting for the day when brands are able to spot amateur videos like this as they're going viral and swoop in to sponsor them before they hit their peak. Until then, we can still learn a ton about what online video audiences are after in their entertainment choices by analyzing home video viral successes.
Perhaps the polar opposite of the viral home video is the branded viral video. Events aren't typically spontaneous in these situations, but are instead carefully scripted out and rehearsed. And when they're executed well enough, audiences don't mind the advertising aspect. After all is said and done, video viewers just want to have a good time watching... they're far less concerned about who is responsible for it than you might think they are.
Take the viral success story from Tropicana this week, which showcased something many of us learned about in high school: the conductivity of citrus:
The producers of the upcoming James Franco film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, have done a great job building anticipation with their core audience. Earlier this week they teased film gossip sites with a three second effects video of one of the film's apes making realistic facial expressions. Then they hosted a live streaming event a couple days later, and followed that up with the release of this trailer:
Red Bull took a page from my "unique perspective" playbook, showing us something many of us have seen (a baseball pitcher in action) in a way we have never experienced it (in super slow-motion HD):
Demonstration videos are still incredibly powerful for brands that can strike the right balance between product showcase and entertaining footage. Of course, when your product is a water-powered jet pack, like JetLev's is, then you barely even have to try. You can just set up a camera and film your product in action... the "cool factor" for your video is already built-in:
Finally, you can hook viral viewers by performing a version of the bait and switch--hook your audience by giving the appearance of one thing, only to swap it out suddenly and show them the opposite. This Swiss Army commercial is a fine example of this (and, despite being unlisted, has over 100,000 views):
Don't See That Everyday
Then there are the videos that just amaze us... surprise us... or startle us. Events or situations we don't see every day or might not see our whole lives are always capable of overnight viral success. Like a video of the Empire State Building being struck by lightning three times in a row:
I don't often film video of the car next to me at a stoplight, but after seeing this clip of an unexpected rear-end collision, I might start:
Maybe lightning strikes and car accidents don't impress you very much... and that's okay. Perhaps you've seen them before. But have you ever seen a close-up shock-wave from a military explosion? (Warning: the guy cusses at the end, and you probably would say the same thing):
That video is two years old and only just now got discovered. That's insane to me. The video has everything a typical viral clip needs, and yet somehow sat largely ignored for quite a long time before finding it's audience. That's all the proof you need right there that there are too many great videos for all of them to get a fair shake.
Still not impressed? How about an aircraft ejector seat test on train tracks?
I know you've never seen 320,000 firecrackers set off at once, right? Well, now you have:
Of course, not all of these "don't see that every day" videos involve explosions... some involve humans doing unexpected or unique things. Like handling snakes in a carefree manner:
Or performing a series of alarmingly good animal impressions:
Along with humor, surprise is one of the most powerful emotions in the world of viral video. Seeing something we didn't expect or can barely believe creates a strong desire to share with our friends--which is why the branded versions of these kinds of videos often involve faked stunts in an attempt to manufacture that awestruck feeling in the viewer's mind.
I can't really find a way to squeeze this next video into one of the three main categories this week, but I still found it too impressive not to share. So... enjoy this cover of a lightning-fast rap song by female YouTuber "karmincovers":
If I had time, I would also have talked about these clips:
- Remember Emerson, the baby who flipped between scared and happy when his mother blew her nose? Now we have a new edit, suggesting that he's actually reacting to what he sees on television.
- Actress Ellen Page (from Juno) can juggle pretty darn well.
- Some people don't let the presence of other human beings impact their behavior... they just go right on doing what they want to do. Like this guy.
- Sometimes security guards take their jobs way too seriously (there's some cussing in this video).
- Viral videos are unpredictable. Sometimes a brand does everything right, and creates a pretty funny video... and hardly anyone watches it.
- Pay attention to this soccer goal. It's not about the where the ball goes (in the net, obviously), it's about how the player jumps when he kicks it.
- And finally, file this clip under "lessons we probably should have already learned."