Does anyone remember viral videos? You know, the things we used to obsess over until “the dress” took over our lives. (It’s black and blue by the way and don’t you try and convince me otherwise!) But here are some of my favorite viral videos in the past 30 days and some lessons that you can glean from them about how to make better video marketing content.
Metlife – My Dad’s Story: All The Feels
Let’s kick this off with a video from MetLife Hong Kong entitled “My dad’s story” part of their #DreamForMyChild ad campaign. This fit perfectly into some points I made last week about viral video ads that you didn’t know were ads. At no point in the ad did I notice this video was from MetLife, but I find myself mentioning them every time I talk to somebody about this video.
The genius in this video is in the mass appeal. They have perfectly tapped into some of the most rooted human emotions. Fathers will love it because it basically tells how awesome they are and daughters will love it for the emotions about their fathers it taps into. I cannot stress enough the importance of playing to people’s emotions when creating videos and this video utilizes one of the strongest and most important bonds to tell their story, the relationship between a father and daughter. It’s generated 8.4 million views in the last month.
Ford’s Speed Dating Prank: A Spin on the Usual
Pranks, cars, and a beautiful woman. What’s not to like here? With over 11 million views this month, “Speed Dating Prank” from Ford makes my list not because it was a hidden ad, but because it was an obvious ad. They took a cue from Pepsi’s ad campaign featuring Jeff Gordon and put a nice spin on it. A Ford Mustang was featured non-stop in the ad, both inside and out, as they put a female professional stunt driver behind the wheel.
The reactions from the male passengers being pranked was priceless and all the credit to for Ford for using Valentine’s Day as a jumping off point for this video. It may not always work, but being aware of major events and piggy backing on them for extra clicks can help catapult a video to success.
Alyson Stoner – Amazing Missy Elliott Tribute
Just over a week after the Super Bowl halftime show that featured a guest appearance from Missy Elliott, Alyson Stoner released a tribute to her that hit me right in the feels. Not only is Alyson from the area where I grew up and now live, but she also capitalized great on timing with this video. She picked up on terms that were getting increased search traffic to draw a lot of attention to this tribute. Extra credibility was added to it since she was such a well-recognized dancer of Missy’s during the height of her career. Aside from the nearly 12.5 million views this video has gotten in just over two weeks, it gave her channel a huge boost.
I don’t know that this video could have worked for anyone else, but Alyson was aware of her special relationship to Missy Elliott and was quick to capitalize on it to draw attention to her current endeavors and boost her subscribers by 35% on YouTube. Timing is everything and even if you miss a huge event like the Super Bowl, if you are quick to react you can still catch the social media ripples afterwards and still find success.
Super Bowl Ads: Humor Trumps Beauty
One really interesting Super Bowl ad that caught on and got a ton of viral success was the “Clash of Clans” ad featuring Liam Neeson. It was a hilarious play off of the “Taken” movie franchise and other popular elements that showed they were really paying attention to trending topics online. But that’s not what really caught my attention……
The most interesting thing about this, to me, was that I couldn’t help thinking about Kate Upton during this ad, despite the fact the $40 million ad campaign that features her is for a completely different game. To top it off, Liam’s video is currently sitting at over 47 million views while the competing game is sitting at nearly 7 million. I would not have guessed it, but apparently humor does trump beauty in advertising. The value of a laugh, in this case, trumps beauty nearly 7:1.
Viral Power Rangers Win – Then Fall Foul of YouTube
My last video this month is a curious one. For starters it’s currently blocked on YouTube, but if you haven’t seen it don’t worry, there are mirrors up all over the place going down almost as fast as people can bring them up. Everyone knows that once something is on the internet it stays there forever.
UPDATE: It’s back on YouTube!
Before it was taken down for copyright violations it had nearly 12 million views. It stars James Van Der Beek, which immediately gives it viral potential and the storyline is what the creators refer to as a deboot of the popular Power Rangers series. Sort of a reimagining of what would have happened to the rangers after they grew up as child heroes.
The video was beautifully done and could have easily been a teaser for a full length feature. But it really goes to show the power of making fan-based works. I fully expect the SFW and NSFW versions of this video to get unblocked and allowed to exist. Fan fiction is explicitly allowed under fair use, especially when the work is clearly “transformative”, even if it is commercial in nature. If you can grab a mirror before it goes down, I promise you’ll get a transformative experience.
Oddly enough, the biggest hit at the box office this year is fan fiction. If it’s ok for Anastasia Steel and Fifty Shades of Grey to dominate book sales and the big screen, certainly there is a place on the internet for a little Power Rangers drama. Here’s the creator talking about why he made it:
Honorable mentions for this month mostly go to Jimmy Fallon and the Tonight Show who have apparently cracked the code and are just pushing out viral content non-stop. The Tonight Show scored a huge hit with ‘Wheel of Musical Impressions with Christina Aguilera’ while Jimmy Fallon Went to Bayside High with “Saved By The Bell” Cast:
If you run across a great viral video you think we’d love to see, send me a tweet to @LDNAndy and you just may see it on next month’s viral video round-up. Which was your favorite viral video of February 2015? Let us know in the comments below.