10 March, 2011

Our Viral Blog Post

I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

Viral videos are a force of Internet nature that you can rarely predict or promise. So when a brand or a company thinks they're being cute or quirky and release a video featuring ingredients commonly found in other REAL viral video, it grinds my gears.

Brands, just because you hire the guy that lip syncs pop songs, feature a "double rainbow" or have a former Friends cast member kick a random dude in the groin, doesn't mean that it's a viral video.

Why don't you let your target audience or consumers determine if it's worth the viral treatment before sending out an e-blast entitled Check out our COOL, VIRAL Video?

We've been hit hard with these this week, the Smartwater one I referenced above, and just yesterday I was sent one from Arby's.

In case you're looking for some key takeaways here, I want to point out two common sense issues at play here:

1. A video you place on the web is not called a "viral video" but a "Web video." If it happens to get 600,000 hits in a day or so then yes, by all means, put on the viral crown and do yourself a dance; you have a viral video.

But in every and all situations where this doesn't happen, you have a "Web video" which is just as cool in it's own right, don't knock it.

2. There are reasons why certain videos go viral. They may contain weird, astounding, entertaining, educational, or any other adjective really. You can't bottle it, you can't coach it, it just happens.


A company releasing what they believe to be a "viral video" is proving to me that they really don't get the concept of what a "viral video" truly is.

And, in the case of the Smartwater ad, if you go down a check list and throw content into a spot because it appears in another viral spot, that's not funny, that's pandering!

If a spot is truly viral, it will go viral but don't cheapen the movement by forcing a brand sponsored spot into the world and calling it "viral" just because it has those goats that lose control of their body when freightened.

Speaking of which, have you seen that viral video? Classic.

Also, if your video is about Meningitis, HIV or Influenza, then yes, technically you do have a viral video...

Sean Sutherland, Associate Account Executive/Viral Watchdog

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