Creating Viral Courage

Creating Viral Courage

It’s called “A dramatic surprise on a quiet square.” It’s earned 23,464,994 views in just six days. It’s the second most shared video of all-time (soon to be first). But was it worth it?

Considering the amount of money it must have taken to create this amazing video, was it worth the risk of not hitting it big in the social space? After all, for every hit like this there are dozens of misses. So why take the risk?

Well, think about the race to go viral as the advertising lottery. You have to play to win and if you win, you win big, really big. Twenty-million views are worth millions upon millions of dollars in traditional media buys. You just have to understand the risks and be able to deal with potentially mundane results.

This success from TNT is a great example we can dissect for a few ideas that can help push a video viral, getting you closer to that media jackpot. Here are five things to think about when the “We need a viral video!” bug hits you:

  1. First of all, remember that social media is not just another form of media. You can’t apply or control reach and frequency formulas.  Your focus and dollars should be on creating a disruptive idea. Otherwise, social media won’t work as hard for you.
  2. Create something real. Real reactions. Real situations. Create ideas that spur real emotions. The typical viewer today expects to be touched or experience someone else being touched emotionally. (Notice it’s the reactions in the TNT video that deliver the real interest.)
  3. Spend money. Wait a minute, what about Keyboard Cat, Charlie’s finger or all those trampoline videos that everyone watches? Well, that’s the real viral lottery, the one you really can’t control and most likely can’t win. You want to shape your message, amaze the audience and increase your odds of viral success. That requires thought and proper production.
    The top two most shared (shared, not viewed) videos of all time are VW’s “The Force” commercial and our TNT example. They both have high thought equity and production value.
  4. Don’t be scared of ideas that scare you. Standing out in a sea of video craziness requires great ideas that have few boundaries. Allowing creative ideas to do heavy lifting for you means you must take a vacation from your personal comfort zone.
  5. Stop selling and start entertaining. The fastest way to alienate online viewers is to sell to them. Take the benefit your product/service brings to the table and wrap a story around it that’s valuable to the viewer’s life.

Success is never guaranteed when “gong viral” is the goal. But you can greatly increase your odds when you have a well-crafted idea and the courage to bring it to life.


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Posted on

April 19, 2012

About the Author

Larry Washington

Larry Washington is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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