The Week’s Best Viral Videos & Video Marketing Lessons – 12/04/2010

The Week’s Best Viral Videos & Video Marketing Lessons – 12/04/2010

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Every Friday I try to pick a few of what I think are the best viral video successes of the week.  While part of the goal is simply to have a little fun on the last work day of the week, I’m also hoping we can find at least one nugget of knowledge through examining what helped make each video so popular.  There’s a nice variety to this week’s featured videos, including an amazing and clever musical performance, a handy Star Trek fan, and an incredibly cute toddler. So let’s not waste any time digging into the clips.

Wine Glass Video Game Tribute

Our first video features a guy with a unique ability:  he can play music using partially-filled wine glasses.  Specifically, he plays the “Song of Healing,” which is a Legend of Zelda theme.  I’m sure you’ve all seen this kind of thing done before, but probably not to the level of sophistication we see here.

I have no idea how long it took to figure out the exact water levels for the notes required, but I know I respect the effort.  And actually, the playing of notes on wine glasses has nothing whatsoever to do with why I love this video.  Just watch it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about:

The presentation is everything.  First, you have the Brady-Bunch-style framing of nine different shots–this is what allows him to play all the various notes and parts in the song.  That alone would make this an impressive video.  But then he starts interacting with the other screens, “reaching up” to grab a glass of water from himself, or handing glasses sideways and down.  And it’s just an insane amount of effort to coordinate all the timing and then edit together seamlessly.

I’ll shout it from the rooftops until I’ve lost my voice:  viral audiences adore a creative project that showcases an obvious and huge amount of work.  When the viewer can clearly see that you spent a ton of time piecing your video together, something powerful happens.  You gain instant respect, which subconsciously encourages them to share what they’ve seen with their friends.  It doesn’t hurt to toss in some geeky references to classic video games either, though it’s clearly the monumental effort that makes this clip so impressive.

Homemade Star Trek Door

Have you ever seen Star Trek?  If so, do you remember those automatic sliding doors that make the little ‘woosh’ sound?  Have you ever wished that you could have doors like that in your own home?  Well then… you should have done what the star of our next clip did, and build your own.  Take a look:

There are a couple main reasons why this video has over 600,000 views in eight days.  First, there is an obvious geek-appeal at work here.  If you can reference or somehow involve some classic science fiction work like Star Wars or Star Trek, you give yourself a bit of an edge against the competition.  This is mostly due to the huge number of obsessive and loyal their fans.  (This is also why gadget-based videos tend to do well, thanks to the undying devotion of Android fan-boys, Apple fanatics, or Google disciples).

But this is no ordinary Star Trek fan video.  This man actually built his own air-powered separating automatic door, which is just astounding.  I have a pretty good history with tackling and defeating various home improvement projects, but this is so far out of my league it’s not even funny.  This thing is geeky, fun, cool, impressive–it pushes all sorts of emotional buttons on the part of the viewer, which is the best way I know of to help a video go viral.

Baby Doesn’t Understand The Water Hose

Everyone loves cute kids, right?  Well, everyone except Ebeneezer Scrooge, I guess.  Maybe there are more humbugs out there than I realize, but this much is not refutable:  a large percentage of the online video-viewing audience love cute kids.  From Charlie Bit My Finger to David After Dentist, the viral video history books are littered with cute kids.

And now they have a new member of their ranks:  the kid who doesn’t understand how the water hose works.  Watch as he tries to get a drink:

That video would be adorable even if he didn’t eventually get a drink, but I’m certainly glad that he did finally succeed a little bit–and the grin he gives when he does only compounds the cuteness.

If there were a list of Ten Truths of Viral Video Marketing, #1 would probably be, “cute kids completely rule the Internet… period.”  The only caution is that “cute” is not defined the same way by everyone.  You may think all your child’s moments are YouTube-worthy, but they’re not.  If you go the route of the cute kids–which is a strategy that seems to be working for eTrade–just make sure you make it as universal as possible.

Honorable Mention

Here are a few more great videos from this week that you might enjoy or learn from… or both:


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