It’s no secret that creating a viral video is like striking gold. Something that often happens without even trying. Meanwhile, the rest of us are trying to formulate a method that will guarantee a viral video. It can be a little frustrating when you wake up one morning and find that the most viewed video EVER on Facebook is a woman sitting in her car laughing at her recent Kohl’s purchase. The question becomes, why her? why the Chewbacca mask? why not my video?
Marketing in general has been shifting from telling to sharing. In other words, brands are trying to break down barriers and create relationships that inspire loyalty. It used to be as simple as just explaining why you are better but now consumers want to feel why you are different. For example, when Coke brilliantly put names on their cans and bottles and created the #shareacoke campaign, they made it personal. Consumers were buying Coke products because they felt connected to the brand and then sharing their pictures online. They essentially created an army to handle their marketing for them.
So what does this have to do with the #HappyChewbacca video? The video is another example of eliciting an emotion. It’s near impossible to watch Candace sit in her car belly-laughing without at least cracking a smile yourself. Take a look back at some of the more viral videos you’ve ever seen. The Save the Children video about a little girl living through the Syrian war is an incredibly emotional piece. It’s a very visual depiction of a very sad situation for a little girl in a war-torn country.
The Proctor & Gamble #ThankYouMom campaign released right around Mother’s Day definitely hits home for anyone who has overcome adversity thanks to a loved one.
These videos are all seeping with authentic emotion and they elicit that emotion, whether humor, sadness or gratitude, from their audience. Candace is clearly not acting with her belly-laugh, she is truly excited by the Chewbacca mask. The little girl in the midst of a war is losing her hair, terrified after being separated from her family, and living in terrible conditions. The athletes and their moms show the true bond between children and their moms.
Lastly, one very important factor that helps a video go viral is engagement and encouragement from the brand. Candace tried to respond to all of the comments on her video (it got a little hard after 148 MILLION views) but she attempted to connect with those people that were taking the time to comment on the video. Proctor & Gamble did the same thing, they responded to comments and encouraged those who like the video to share it and increase the views.
So. Bottom line? Emotion, authenticity and engagement are all large stepping stones to a viral video. The bad news? There is still no guarantee that your video will become the next viral sensation to appear on Good Morning America or the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Like we said at the beginning of the post, if it were this formulaic, every company and organization would have a viral video.