It's Friday, and that means it's time for another Viral Video Marketing Round Up. This week we saw some truly exceptional viral stories, and I'm looking forward to discussing them and breaking down what helped them get so popular. Without further ado, let's begin:
Last year, around this time, we saw the JK Wedding Dance video sweep the nation. It was one of the first things I ever wrote about here at ReelSEO. Looking for a way to keep their ceremony unique and fun, the bride and groom had developed a choreographed dance-entry for the wedding party.
A lot of couples aim to do something unique with their wedding, as they have been doing for years. But this age of online video and social networks has brought new attention to wedding photos and videos. I'd guess that we're going to see some unique wedding video go viral at least once a year or so, if not more.
This week, we have the video called Lauren & JP. Their photographer/videographer, Matt Odom, was asked to help them come up with a wedding video concept that showcased the couple's nontraditional sensibilities and "alt" philosophy on life. So he conceived of a sort of music video idea that's part wedding video… part art, and it has already amassed 120,000 views in just five days. Take a look:
Now, one thing that you can't take away from this couple is that this wedding video is definitely unique. I've never seen anything like it. And yet, it does seem to capture some measure of this couple's collective personality. Is it the kind of wedding video I would want? No. But these two are very clearly enjoying themselves during filming, and this does appear to be the perfect wedding video for them.
It's gone viral because it's wedding-related, and weddings will always be a popular topic, especially this time of year. It's also art, really, showcasing both the photographer's technical skill as well as his ability to conceptualize the whole thing. Actually, it's so well-made that I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up with a few job offers to direct music videos.
It's also something we've never seen before, a wedding video that is more MTV than HGTV. More art than historical record. I'm sure this couple will cherish this video forever, even while it spurs thousands of brides-to-be to try and think more outside the box with their own wedding plans. And that's why it went viral.
Guy Walks Across America
How can I respect myself as a video writer if I fail to mention the Guy Walks Across America video? Answer: I can't. You've probably already seen it, or at least read about it. It is probably the single most-buzzed-about video of the week.
What you might not have known is that it was sponsored—paid for, at least in part—by Levi's. Watch for their close-up near the 1:43 mark.
Now, the video would probably have gone viral without any involvement from Levi's, and that's because there are a lot of great viral ingredients here. It's stop-motion, which we've talked about a lot in this column, and is one of the most popular styles of online video this year. It's also got a tremendously popular and hip song for a soundtrack, which is always a plus. Imagine this same video with some morose tune like Johnny Cash's cover of, "Hurt.” Not quite the same effect, is it?
The piece is artistic and fun and creative… and even a little patriotic in the way it shows off familiar landmarks and landscapes of the U.S.
But the real reason I wanted to feature it in this article is the Levi's angle. The details on the arrangement between the filmmakers and Levis are being kept under wraps. Did the jeans company fund the whole thing? Was it their concept and they're just trying to make it look like something created by independent artists? Or was the idea in place and these guys went shopping for sponsors among various blue jeans brands?
Right now, no one's saying. Which is kind of my point. We're starting to see a very real blurring of the lines between content that's made for content's sake and content that's sponsored by a brand. The gap between entertainment and commercials in online video is shrinking rapidly. And I'm okay with that. It doesn't make this video any less creative an achievement in my eyes just because it was sponsored… or because they zoom in on the brand name at the end. Think of it this way: If there wasn't a sponsor, would these guys have had any shot of pulling this off? Maybe; maybe not. But if this is the future of video advertising, then count me in. When the brand's budget can improve the art without the brand's message overpowering that art, that's what I call a win/win. Or would you rather just watch a preroll ad for blue jeans?
Icelandic Team Soccer Goal
If the Guy Walks Across America video got the most buzz and attention this week, then the Best Celebration Ever In Football wins the award for most views: over six million of them.
With the World Cup still fresh on the minds of most people, I probably don't need to remind you that sometimes teams have little celebrations they perform with their teammates after scoring a goal. Some are more elaborate than others. This, our third and final viral success story of the week, is maybe the most elaborate one ever. Check it out:
The team is a soccer club from Iceland called Stjarnan, and this isn't even their only online video related to elaborate goal celebrations. As this article points out, there were several similar videos all uploaded on the same day, even though many were filmed at different games.
The implication is that this is potentially some kind of coordinated marketing effort. To many viewers, that would cheapen the video. For me, however, it would only make it more awesome. Just like the Levi's-sponsored video above, if there is a brand behind these celebration videos then I applaud them. Because it's not immediately obvious that there is. And at over six million views, I would say that they managed to fool us into thinking the video was 100% real.
Of course, it's possible that it is just a team with elaborate goal celebrations. There doesn't have to be a brand behind it. And it's still a viral success story. Soccer is still a very hot topic around the world, the World Cup having only ended earlier this month. There is evidence in their routine of a lot of planning and practice, and above all… this thing is just funny.
If it's not intentional marketing… then these guys deserve the fame and attention for their creativity and charm. If it is intentional marketing, then this video still deserves the fame and attention for being one of the most cleverly-disguised marketing efforts ever. So you see, it's worth discussing here either way. As I've said many times before, if you can somehow craft a video that leaves the viewer wondering if it was real or staged… if it is just a video or some kind of guerrilla marketing… then you've hit the jackpot.
If I had more time, I would also love to talk about:
- This sports, you'll almost certainly enjoy this. which mixes famous athlete press conferences with a hip hop beat and some autotune. If you like
- This adorable kid complaining about his zoo visit, which I actually dedicated an entire article to yesterday.
- This dancing Sweedish policeman who is not quite viral yet, but will definitely be viral by tomorrow.
- This poor soul who is running for governor in my home state of Tennessee, and who found himself an unexpected Internet star this week, even catching the attention of Stephen Colbert.