Is it really Friday already? Another week is in the books, and it's time to round up the best of the viral success stories from this week. We have animals (honestly, you simply can't publish a list of top viral videos without including animal clips at this point), a couple of very different dance parties, and even a pair of mildly terrifying videos for you this week. So sit back, adjust your volume, and enjoy this tour through some of my favorite viral clips of the week.
Strange Animals Behaving Strangely
Everyone knows that dog and cat videos are hugely popular online--for some people, that may be all they know about viral video. Those two animals dominate online video because they're the most commonly owned pets around the world. But there are a host of non-dog, non-cat animals in existence, and sometimes they do things worthy of your attention as well.
Like the slow loris. Have you ever heard of a slow loris? It's a type of primate--an endangered species, actually. All I know is that this one in our first clip must think it's raining, and it's pretty cute:
Another video that got some buzz this week featured another less-common animal: an anteater. Specifically, a baby anteater who is still getting the hang of this whole "walking" thing:
The viral rule about animal cuteness extends well beyond the realm of just cats and dogs. Additionally, there's an element of the "new" here for audiences, as most viewers simply haven't had much exposure to creatures like this. Video audiences love new things--sometimes to the point of shunning or bashing things they've seen before. A video like either of the above checks off two of the known viral trigger boxes--cuteness and newness.
Oh, and the second video is from U-Zoo (a sort of curator of zoo animal videos) and features the Sunshine International Aquarium in Tokyo, Japan--fantastic awareness and publicity gained for both those brands.
I have never been a big dancer, mostly because I have never had any rhythm. But even bad dancers sometimes like to dance around to the music and just have fun, right? Well, this next video is just that--a father and daughter having a silly dance party in the living room. The creator--YouTube user liferegenerator--actually has a ton of videos about healthy eating and healthy living. Except for a few of them, they don't have a ton of views.
But then he went and uploaded a clip that gave audiences a unique look at a pretty nice father/daughter bonding moment, and the Internet fell in love. I especially like how the older daughter is too cool to dance for a while, but then sees how much fun the others are having and eventually joins in. Check it out:
It just goes to show you how much "realness" counts with viral viewers. All the planning, scriptwriting, and practicing we do to make our videos perfect... and this guy comes along and just sets a camera in the corner and films himself goofing off with his kids. That's a good lesson for anyone who makes a lot of video--don't let the planning eliminate all realness from your work.
There was another dance party that went viral this week, of a completely different variety. If you've read even one of my columns before, you probably know how much I love a good flash mob--I certainly say it enough. And this week we saw another fantastic flash mob video go viral, this time from Germany--hey, no one said flash mobs had to be in English... or even in North America!
Flash mobs like this are a sort of double-layered marketing approach. It's fantastic PR for any prospective customers that are actually there at the time of filming, witnessing a jaw-dropping sight. You can virtually guarantee most of them will share the news of this event with friends and family.
But then you put that thing online, and you reach another, much larger audience. And while we at home may enjoy the performance, the biggest entertainment value comes from the candid-camera style filmmaking, as we get to watch the smiles erupt on the faces of the witnesses.
And what's that there at the end? That thing the camera pans in on real tight? Oh, well it looks like a banner advertisement for a theater show called "Oz--The Wonderful Wizard." Hmmm, I wonder if they have an upcoming performance to promote...
Our final examples this week both involve footage that is a bit scary--or at the very least, uncomfortable. First, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released never-before-seen footage of the moments just after the 9/11 attacks, shot from an NYPD helicopter overhead.
Now, I recognize that many of you may not be interested in such a video--indeed, it's still hard for me to watch too. So, don't watch if you think it's not for you. Here's the footage:
This video has over 8 million views in just four days. That's astounding. And it's a testament to how powerfully the memories of those attacks--now nearly 10 years old--still resonate. It's also a great lesson for video creators that audiences aren't always after warm fuzzies. We try pretty hard to keep our videos funny, lighthearted, and happy. But viewers aren't always after that stuff, as much as we might like to think they are. Educational video, historical video, instructional videos... can all go viral in their own right, even if they are a bit more challenging to market.
Our final video of the week scares the crap out of me, but I don't think it's intended to. I'm just not much of a thrill-seeker. It's video of a bike race... down a mountain... through alleys and city streets with makeshift ropes and ramps--oh, and apparently sponsored by RedBull:
See what I mean about it being frightening? I thought he was going to bite it a few times there.
This video is awesome for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because it's definitely charting new territory--I've never seen any video even remotely like this one, though I get the sense this sporting event (whatever it is) has been going on for years.
It's also a reminder of the power of product placement. 10 years ago, a sponsorship of this guy's bike was probably worth very little. But today, thanks to the power of the Internet, Red Bull is able to get miles and miles of free exposure for whatever small fee they paid to sponsor the bike. Don't tell me they didn't have something to do with putting a camera on this guy's helmet.
I always have more videos worth sharing than room and time to share them in. So here are a few more good ones I thought you'd enjoy:
- A hilarious fake iPad 2 commercial that pokes some fun at Apple.
- I was far more entertained by these two "mime comics" than I probably should have been.
- About a dozen friends emailed me this video of Super Mario Brothers with realistic sound effects.