What does going Viral mean to you?

In the “The Worlds of Viral Video” created by PBS, an array of viral videos are highlighted accompanied by commentary from various industry folk like Jonah Perettis from Buzzfeed and Kevin Allocca from Youtube.  This video discusses how the word “viral” is becoming more of a buzzword, than a word with a solidified definition.  Some define viral as something that takes off, others define it as something that inspires a person to share it, either one is true.  That is the beauty of it….there are no set rules stating what should or should not go viral.    Of course there are guidelines, but for the most part all videos have some kind of chance of going viral.   Even though there are no set rules to guarantee viral content, it is smart to analyze why these mentioned videos worked so well.   This leads to the main points discussed in “The Worlds of Viral Video”.

You have 10 seconds GO!

The first step in boosting a video’s likelihood  of going viral is to make sure in the first 10 seconds the video successfully convinces the viewer to stay tuned.

The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

In the first 5 seconds we hear the Star Wars theme song and see Darth Vader. A shorter Darth Vader with faulty powers that is. This opening works for 2 reasons.

-It involves pop culture, Star Wars.

-It incorporates the common child fantasy of possessing super powers that many can admit to having at one time.

It’s not surprising that this video received 1 million views over night and has since then acquired roughly 54 million views.  Volkswagen chose not to heavily highlight the product itself (the car), but instead focus on building a story around it.  In this story the car is the game changer.  Everyone remembers the car because it’s the only object that the beloved little Darth Vader, can manipulate with his force.


Brands caught onto the brilliance of YouTube video creation fast. They had no choice because that’s where a majority of their consumer’s focus was.   Brands observed how regular people could upload a video and watch it go viral and decided to give it a try themselves.

Evian Baby Dance

The company Evian launched one of the first major viral campaigns that has obtained over a billion YouTube views. Consumers grew obsessed with the randomness of a bottled water company creating a video in which digitized babies rap and dance around Evian water bottles.  Evian opened the door to brands like Old Spice, less established brands like the Dollar Shave Club and various others.  This parlays into how the YouTube landscape has evolved and will continue too.  Right now it seems YouTube is in a transition from a platform that some people utilized to a gold mine for content creators big and small. Instantaneously, their work has the ability to go viral. It no longer takes months, or days, it may just happen overnight.

 That reminds me of … 

No one will  stop what he or she is doing to watch something that they don’t feel connected to.  Often times a video that touches on the little things in life like the toilet paper running out at the most inconvenient of times or a person falling off a table are things that people watch and share over and over again.

The creators of the What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction parody understand that people love watching something that relates to their life.  Parodies of songs go viral because they integrate pop culture and display how everyday people can make their own interpretation of famous singers.  The parody’s creators do admit that they are always surprised by what becomes popular.  This gives a reassurance that the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity.

Experiencing the World through Videos

People are no longer only fed what ever the news channel decides to capture.  Now civilians engaged in the situation can take out their mobile device and begin capturing the pure situation without a subjective stance.


Videos aren’t just entertainment anymore.  People are beginning to remember significant events in history through viral videos.

After reading this, think about what viral video recently impacted you and if so do you agree with these points?

3 thoughts on “What does going Viral mean to you?

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