Can you create a viral video?

At every marketing meeting I’ve been to in the last twelve months, someone usually throws out this thought, “What we need is one of them there viral videos!” (That line works best when said with a  Will Parker-like Oklahoma drawl.)

Who can disagree with a statement like that!  The right viral videos get millions of views, spread a brand’s image faster than a speeding kilobyte, and reach every corner of the cornerless world-wide-interweb.

So where can you pick up one of these mini marketing machines?

You can’t.

They’re not for sale.

Viral videos are not something that can be bought, so beware of those peddling big-budget video ideas with the hopes and prayers that customers will distribute it for you . . . for free.

Would you create a TV commercial without knowing it was going to be used?

Would you create a poster without a place to put it up?

Then don’t allocate big dollars to a virus that the consumer body may reject.

In fact, the most successful viral videos I know are the ones that look like they cost whatever the price is of a DV tape is these days.

And, most importantly, while fantastically funny viral videos produce millions of views, they rarely produce millions of dollars.

They can spread a message, but they rarely have an immediate impact on your bottom line.

What do you do if you really want one?

Just get one the same way you’d get an actual virus.  Walk around and expose yourself to everything.  Sooner or later, you’ll catch something . . . and hopefully it’ll be on a DV tape.

  • Josh Schwartz says:

    Speaking of which, I just saw a bristol palin/levi parody that just might go viral

  • My favorite example of this? “Snakes on a Plane.” Everyone talked about how the constant attention online and all the viral marketing was going to change everything.
    Unfortunately, people had so much fun making and watching each others’ “SoaP” stuff that they forgot to actually see the movie. (More to the point, they forgot to go out and pay money to see the movie.)
    Out here, we build attention for our shows the old fashioned way, and we usually play to packed houses. (It helps that the house is small, but still…)

  • A video, when reaches a point of being viral, is a good way to create branding. Making it reach viral level is another story. And yes, it’s true that most of the viral videos that have come out looks like they were on a really tight budget, or didn’t have a budget at all.

  • SEO Reseller says:

    One epic scene is all that’s needed to make a video viral. “Snakes on a Plane” happens to have one. Which I think was the defining factor that made it viral.

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