25 February 2013
With over 4 billion views on YouTube each day, the opportunity for exposure is tremendous. But don’t be fooled. Just because your video is on Youtube and YOU think it’s great doesn’t mean it’ll capture the kind of attention you are hoping for.
So what does it take to achieve the coveted status of viral video? Is this a phenomenon of chance, or can it be intentionally engineered?
One creative California agency believes they’ve not only cracked the viral code, but can also inject a message within the entertainment.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Brendan Gahan, Director of Social Media for Mekanism, an award winning creative agency.
Mekanism has created viral campaigns for clients such as Pepsi, Virgin Mobile, Axe and 20th Century Fox.
Most recently added to their collection of viral hits is the creation of Hovercat which launched on June 9th, 2012 to promote animal adoption through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
In just 64 second Mekanism has captured attention, delivered a message and proclaimed that this video will go viral.
That’s a pretty bold statement – but they delivered.
Although George is a trained cat, Dan Harris is not your average viral video star. The ABC News Anchor doesn’t say a single word in the entire video, nor does he do anything embarrassing or perform any talents during the production.
It’s all about the cat and the ultimate message of adoption.
This is a far cry from the pioneering viral videos ofStar Wars Kid or Charlie Bit Me, which were accidental successes and carried no agenda other than providing entertainment.
Since its launch on YouTube, Hovercat has conjured up over a Million views and has demonstrated its appeal reaches beyond animal lovers, being featured onRyan Seacrest’s blog, Mashable, USA Today and The Los Angeles Times.
I figure if anyone has an insightful word on what it takes to go viral – it’s Mekanism.
The Candy With The Medicine
In order to generate massive views, Mekanism uses something they call “Candy with the Medicine,” a philosophy that recognizes a message is best received within entertainment.
Therefore, the first item on the agenda is to ENTERTAIN – that’s the “candy.”
The second step is to inject the MESSAGE – that’s the “medicine.”
David Horowitz, Mekanism Creative Director explains how this was executed.
The challenge was making something that promoted the ASPCA and made people smile. Ultimately, pets are fun. Look on YouTube and you’ll see thousands of animal videos with huge view counts for that very reason – pets do funny things, and people like watching pets do funny things. We wanted to use that truth as the selling point. But unlike a video a kid makes at home, we couldn’t just find a cat and wait for it to fall into a box or jump on a ceiling fan. If we wanted to have our own cat viral hit, we needed to create something that would have a hook – a concept that could be described in the title itself. Thus, Hovercat was born.”
Post and Pray?
Once the direction of the content is chosen it’s important to follow it up by creating a strategic plan. This mindset places the creation of a video in the context of an overall marketing plan rather than viewing the video as the plan itself.
The last thing anyone should do is ‘Post and Pray’ says Brendan. This is typically how inexperienced (and even some experienced) marketing departments approach video marketing.
Brendan stresses that a majority of the focus needs to be spent on the planning of the campaign launch, which is how maximum impact is achieved.
How to Achieve Viral Video Success
The method through which Mekanism approaches each project is a results based equation of ‘People + Platform x Snowball Effect’ = Results.
This demonstrates their understanding that going viral is not a one-man show; it takes the right people, the right platform and an on going plan to achieve viral results.
That’s right. Viral CAN be created, but it takes some serious planning.
See more at http://www.forbes.com/sites/lewishowes/2012/08/09/how-to-go-viral-on-youtube-the-untold-truth-behind-getting-views/