David after the dentist

We hear a lot about viral videos in our line of work. What we hear most often is probably; “We want to make a viral video about…”

Except that you really, probably, don’t. Popular is always good. Engaging is probably better. Functional is a hugely underrated descriptive. But that might be exactly what you need – a video that works. I don’t mean you hit play and it plays (though, yes, that’s always a good place to start); I mean a video that does what you need it to do. A video that speaks to your customers and has the effect on them that you intended.

According to Kevin Allocca, of You Tube, 48 hours of video get uploaded every minute.

That’s 2 days worth of content in a minute. Of that, the tiniest fraction catches fire and becomes truly…virulent. And what DOES hit is impossible to predict. Typically, some internet tastemaker (usually a comedian), plucks an awesomely absurd video out of obscurity and…BOOM. Viral.

A video can languish on the web for months, years even, before a random chain of events gets it in the hands of the right person with the right following.

Then things get a little more complicated. Once it’s out there, and it’s gone viral, the video becomes creative fodder for the masses. It gets coopted, translated, remixed and generally mocked into perpetuity. For a viral video, this feeds right back to the original to maintain its popularity. For your video, for your product or business or brand, this might not be the kind of publicity you actually want.

Or maybe it is. But you have to ask yourself – are you willing to go pretty far out on a limb for popularity? Are you willing to push the bounds of decency?

To get really, truly weird and risk falling flat on your face? Are you willing to put your brand into the hands of an irreverent public and let them build you up by tearing you down?
Or would you rather make a video that tells your story, educates your customers, and encourages an action you control?
We’re happy to do either. We’re as comfortable sticking a cat in a box with a double rainbow as we are running a video demo of a thermal imager. But the next time you hear yourself asking for a viral video, ask yourself if that’s really what you need. Whatever you decide, we’re on board.

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