Thursday, March 1, 2007

What makes a video viral?

Right now we're working on a Justin viral video campaign around his upcoming European tour, using both Justin behind-the-scenes footage and user-generated video.

In looking at the creative of the video content, trying to make it as viral as possible, I read some research done by the market research company Millward Brown.

The research identified a few consistent ingredients that motivated a viewer to forward the video on to a friend. Only 8 of the 129 films researched prompted more than 1/5th of consumers to claim they would definitely forward the film on if they were to receive it via email.

The specific areas of enjoyment that improve a film’s chances of clocking up virtual airmiles are:
L. - laugh out loud funny
E. - edgy
G. - gripping
S. - sex

In other words if your film has LEGS it will increase its chances of becoming viral.

Forwarding a branded film creates an opportunity for the sender to communicate. In fact the study showed that there is a certain kudos factor for the sender. This works much in the same way as someone who tells a good joke will delight in their audience’s laughter. In order to receive this kudos however, the film has to be good. In sending a viral on, the sender is saying that THEY think it’s good. Sending a bad viral is rather like telling a joke that falls flat.

Once the viral has been forwarded on, then all of the standard truisms and rules of advertising come into play: if the film is not clearly linked to the brand in question, any impact on the brand is unlikely. Similarly, assuming the film is linked back to the brand, if the message communicated within the film isn’t linked to the brand value and proposition, then at best the film will only serve to heighten brand awareness. At worst it could damage brand perceptions. What is communicated within the film should therefore not be compromised, forgotten or ignored in the bid to gain momentum.

The top 5 films that people say they would forward online are:

1) Bud Light’s Magic Fridge

2) Ikea’s Pig Chase

3) DC Shoe’s B.Ball

4) Carlton Draught’s Big Ad

5) British Columbia Lion’s Cheering Works

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