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Viral Videos That Build Brands (And How To Make Them)
Viral Videos That Build Brands (And How To Make Them)

A terrific way to affordably build your brand is by developing viral content, most specifically shareable videos, that support your brand. But recommending a company create a viral video is like telling a baseball player to "just" hit a home run. It isn't that easy!

This post will review my personal hall of fame of viral videos, then analyze the attributes that these videos share, which make them compelling and shareable.

1. The Blendtec "Will It Blend?" Series

The "Will It Blend?" series is a series of viral videos created by Blendtec, a manufacturer of blenders. The videos feature company founder Tom Dickson attempting to blend various objects, including iPhones, marbles, and golf balls. The videos are designed to showcase the power of Blendtec's blenders and have been highly successful, with the original "Will It Blend?" video garnering over 16 million views on YouTube.

 

2. Dollar Shave Club "Our Blades are ***king great."

In March of 2012, Dollar Shave Club released a commercial featuring founder Michael Dubin that quickly went viral. The commercial was viewed over 12 million times on YouTube and helped to launch the brand into mainstream consciousness.

 

3. K-mart "Ship My Pants."

Kmart's "Ship My Pants" commercial was a television ad that aired in 2013 and quickly went viral online. The ad featured customers in a Kmart store exclaiming in disbelief at the store's new shipping policy, which allows customers to ship their pants (and other items) to their homes for free. The commercial was widely praised for its clever use of wordplay and helped to increase awareness of Kmart's ability to process orders online. Sadly, this brilliant campaign was too little too late for the brand.

 

4. Google "Dear Sophie."

In May 2012, Google released a Chrome web browser commercial featuring a father sending emails to his daughter as she grows up. The video was viewed over 5 million times on YouTube and helped to improve the brand's image among parents.

 

5. Old Spice's "The Man, Your Man Can Smell Like."

Old Spice wanted to get the attention of the primary buyers of body wash products for men, which, research showed, was women! In February 2010, Old Spice released a commercial featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa that quickly went viral. The commercial was viewed over 46 million times on YouTube and helped to improve the brand's image and sales. [i]

6. Nike "Always # Like A Girl."

In June 2014, Nike released a commercial to redefine what it means to do something "like a girl." The video went viral, being viewed over 64 million times on YouTube, and helped to improve the brand's image among young girls and women. The version I shared here appeared as a recent Super Bowl commercial.

 

7. Dove, "The Evolution of Dad."

In June 2014, Dove released a video supporting its Men+Care Brand that depicted the various stages of fatherhood, from the first time a man becomes a father to when his children are grown and he becomes a grandfather. The videos went viral, being viewed over 6 million times on YouTube, and helped to improve the brand's image among consumers. 

The videos appear every Father's Day to promote the skincare brand. Here's an example:

How To Make A Viral Video

So what does it take to make a viral video? Keep it universal, and stay close to the heart! Here are eight qualities most of these videos share:

1. They Are Well-Produced With Quality Content.

Ensuring high-quality content is the first and most crucial step to creating a viral video. The video should be well-produced, entertaining, and informative. It should also be relevant to a broad audience. A good test is whether you are excited to share this video with friends and family.

2. They Use Emotional Appeals.

Another critical element of creating a viral video is to use emotional appeals. Videos that evoke strong emotions, such as happiness, sadness, or anger, are more likely to be shared than those that are not emotional. For example, Nike's # like a girl campaign evokes shame and anger simultaneously.

3. They Include Unexpected Elements.

Another way to create a viral video is to use unexpected elements. The "surprise" could include using humor, shock value, or suspense. Including these elements will pique viewers' interest and make them more likely to share the video with others. Each of these videos takes us by surprise, whether it is the surprise of a start-up CEO dropping bleeped-out F-Bombs or the vision of someone using a blender to liquefy baseballs!

4. They Keep It Short.

It is also essential to keep the video short. Viewers are more likely to watch and share a video that is under three minutes in length. If the video is too long, viewers may lose interest and stop watching before they reach the end. All of these videos are, at most, three minutes long.

5. They Use Visual Aids.

Including visual aids in the form of images or graphics can also help to make a video more engaging and more likely to go viral. Visual aids can help to break up the monotony of a talking head and keep viewers' attention focused on the video. For example, there is something perversely satisfying about watching a blender grind up a baseball, golf ball, or two-by-four.

6. They Use Influencers For Promotion.

If you know of any influencers in your industry or niche, consider reaching out to them and asking them to promote your video. Influencers have large followings of engaged users who are likelier to watch and share your video when recommended by someone they trust. If you've noticed Saturday Night Live spokespeople creeping into many commercials, this is why!

7. They Touch on Universal Themes.

Dove's viral video on fatherhood and Nike's #like a girl campaign have evolved from one-off viral videos to full-on campaigns that invite new videos with new approaches. They become campaigns on the same theme as the original video but are repeated at times when the content will be most impactful. Dove's fatherhood series appears every Father's Day, while Nike took its #likeagirl campaign to the national stage on Super Bowl Sunday. 

8, They Are Authentic.

While funny, each video is authentic to the brand it represents. The Dollar Shave Club CEO tours his facility while extolling the virtues of his company's blades. The Blendtec founder shows off how well his blender works by grinding up a baseball. Google shows how their easy-to-use software fits in with family life while a father watches his daughter grow up. Even Isiah Mustafa in the Old Spice commercial strikes us as earnest in his tongue-in-cheek discussion of how men should smell. Each video explains the product's unique selling proposition in a way that touches on the brand's essence.

 

Footnote:

 [i] 21 Successful Marketing Campaign Examples That'll Inspire You. https://smartblogger.com/marketing-campaign/

 








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