The “Sh*t Storm”: Taking Advantage of a Viral Trend

There are some viral videos that just inspire. They scream at the YouTubers of the world to: go forth and recreate! The success of “Call Me Maybe” and “Gangnam Style” can attest to that.  One of our favorites is the “Sh*t Girls Say” videos that inspired dozens of spin-offs. It all started with this video:

It was followed by “Sh*t Asian Dads Say“, “Sh*t Black Girls Say“, inevitably “Sh*t White Girls Say ….to Black Girls“, and the list goes on. A few months after the ‘Sh*t Storm’ (pardon the pun) had died down, this next video hit YouTube and went viral in days.

‘But…but…People weren’t sick of this “Sh*t People Say” trend yet?’, you may ask.”Nope. So, so far from it….”, says I. Take a look:

Three days ago an Australian company latched on to the success of the “Sh*t Apply Fanatics Say” video–along with all the childish, yet compelling competitive energy that comes with the Android vs Apple feud.

Mobile Phone Finder is a company that helps you select the best phone for you. What better platform for them to show you how much you need them! If you’re not an Apple or an Android user, trying to figure out which  phone would be best for your is incredibly confusing. Each side is so unnecessarily passionate about making sure everyone knows their phone is the best, it makes it hard to choose between the two extremes. Oh, Mobile Phone Finder, you are clever. They found a way to highlight the need for their service in an already loved, watched, and successful format and then gently suggested their services at the end. Nicely done.

Lessons From a Feminine Product Company On How To Use Facebook. Take Note.

It’s unfortunate how many companies never realize the marketing potential in facebook. The site has a billion users (literally a BILLION!), half of whom log in every single day. It is available in 70 languages and in almost every country around the world. Whatever your target market is–it’s most definitely on facebook (Looking up pictures of its ex).

There are a few companies however, that have tapped in to the powers of ‘the book’. (Grey Poupon and the Society of Good Taste is a particular favorite.) Most recently though, a UK feminine products company called Bodyform, with a history of terrible ad campaigns jumped on board. (Hurray!)
On October 8th, Richard Neill posted a mildly clever, but mostly just snarky comment on Bodyform’s facebook page. The comment went viral and reached over 84,000 likes. Meanwhile, Bodyform itself has just over 4,000. This is what Richard wrote:

With this story spreading virally over the web, Bodyform had to do something. Considering its marketing team’s track record consists of  heinous ads like the one below, we weren’t expecting much.

Luckily someone at Bodyform saw this facebook comment as the opportunity that it was and responded with this stroke of genius:

Instead of being the secondary character in a typical viral story, Bodyform took the reins. By choosing not to merely react, but to respond and go on the offensive instead; this feminine product company from the UK gained themselves international exposure and almost 2 million views on YouTube.

Big Bird’s Big Viral Adventure

Not since Tickle Me Elmo has Sesame Street experienced such attention in the media…

Why a Presidential Nominee would choose the first presidential debate to put one of the most beloved children’s characters on the chopping block is a mystery to us, but against all reason, he did.

And boy are we glad!

After Mitt made the comment:

“I’m sorry Jim,” to moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS News Hour. “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it,”

Twitter exploded in defense of our big, yellow friend. Users were tweeting the words “Big Bird” at a whopping rate of 17,000 times per minute. Accounts like @SadBigBird, @BigBirdRomney, and @FiredBigBird (which had more than 16,000 followers by the end of the debate) started popping up!  PBS had enough good sense to see an opportunity and made an ad buy on the phrase “Big Bird” on Twitter. Any time this phrase was searched on Twitter, the first thing people saw was this:

 And not long after, the meme-machine started working its magic:

Three days later….

And finally, the Obama campaign jumped on the band wagon with this ad:

To its credit, PBS was not about to let itself or its characters be made a political football and had this to say:

“We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation,” said PBS in a statement on its website. “For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.”

What do you think? Are Big Bird and PBS worth the .0012% of our Federal Budget every year? Does the cost outweigh the benefit? Or was this just a cheap shot?

When Politicians Go Viral

Can a candidate’s YouTube presence make a difference? Are there Undecideds out there that might happen across “Mitt Romney with a Little Face” while perusing YouTube at 2am on a weeknight and think to themselves “Yes! Decision made!” Doubtful, but sadly possible.

Of course, there are plenty of legitimate and valuable videos of speeches, debates, and interviews; but unless that video is Michelle Obama’s DNC speech, it is unlikely it will even come close to reaching an audience of almost 29 million. (The amount of views for “Obama Sings: Call Me Maybe”)

Now, the majority of voters are certainly not looking to YouTube to inform their decision, but does that make this platform just a place for silly political parodies and satire? The 47% video from Mother Jones with over 3 million views begs to differ. Politicians should be looking at this debacle and Romney’s subsequent dive in the polls as the unfortunately inelegant canary in the coal mine that it is. The internet and platforms like YouTube have had an immense effect on the democratization of information, and if our darling Duchess Kate Middleton isn’t safe from it then no one is.

So far however, this canary is still just a canary. Whether politicians will have to become more transparent and consistent remains to be seen. (It’s doubtful at best) In the meantime, do viral videos of Obama singing and Romney dancing Gangnam Style have any real bearing on this presidential race?

In our most humble opinion, after hours of tedious and dedicated YouTubeing we’ve concluded that according to YouTube, in simplest terms—Obama is cool and Romney is funny.




Do these kinds of videos actually matter in an election? Are they merely entertainment for the masses or do they reflect actual attitudes? What, if any, impact can YouTube and viral videos have on politics? Hit us up–Tell us what you think!