The Secret Ingredient to Viral Videos

Author Avatar
Written by Digital Surgeons,
• 4 min read

There are a handful of companies that are notorious for creating banned television commercials. Anheuser Busch, GoDaddy and Snickers are just a few of companies that have made an impact with their banned commercials on the internet.

  In 2007 Anheuser Busch created a commercial called “The Swear Jar” that they housed on (see above). That video went viral and got reuploaded all over Youtube. And who can forget the Snickers “Do Something Manly” commercial? A commercial that made it to TV and then got removed.

  Banned television commercials are some of the most viral videos on the internet and they save a lot of money in the marketing budget.

Too Much For TV

  The majority of banned commercials will get taken off television or never make it to television because their content is too inappropriate. The Snickers commercial, “Do Something Manly,” is the perfect example. It was named one of the top 10 best Super Bowl ads that year, but was considered to be homophobic by several humanities groups. The ad got kicked off of television, uploaded to the internet and has now been remade, remixed and re-uploaded over and over again; easily quadrupling the original viewership.

Never Too Much For The Internet

  Thats right, some brands intentionally make their commercials too inappropriate for television, but just shy of explicit to keep them on YouTube. PETA and Budweiser have frequently released commercials digitally that are almost too inappropriate for YouTube with intentions of getting their brand recognized on social media and the blogosphere.

  Not only brands, but activist groups that can’t afford to have a television advertising buy will take the risk just to get recognized.

Who wins?

  These banned commercials and risque digital videos are getting shared via social media and reposted on blogs at an exponential rate. The consumer wins, right? Of course they do, they get social clout when their friends enjoy the video. They get traffic when their blog is linked to for posting the videos. Everyone wins, especially the brand.

  The people are getting what they want (traffic and laughs) but the brands are the ones who are cashing in. Brand’s save tens of thousands of media dollars by using viral distribution. The viewers do all the marketing work for them by sharing these videos within small contained communities.

How Does It Happen

  Not every video on the internet has the potential to go viral. The content in the video has to be able to grab the attention of a certain group of people in order for them to want to share it.

  In an interview with Lucas Watson, the Vice President of global video sales at Youtube, Watson brings up three key ingredients that can help a video reach viral ad success. According to Watson a viral video requires either human insight, conversation ignition or emotional connection. He says that brands that understand how to connect with their audience or create tension are more successful when it comes to video advertising.

What’s the Secret Ingredient?

  A Study done by the website Buzzfeed suggests that friends are the most common influencers in content that goes viral. Viral content starts within small groups of friends rather than content shared by large influencers. Large influencers may be able to reach a larger range of people, but their content usually doesn’t last long.

  Two very similar, but different forms of sharing. When a user shares content on social media it is like they are using a bullhorn, putting the content out there for everyone to hear. In real life users do not do that. They share ideas in one-on-one conversations or group discussions. Imagine if users shared content in real life the same way they shared content online. Some people would listen, others would walk past wondering who is this kid with the bullhorn?

  Effective viral video content online needs to be something that people can engage with on a human level. The amount of social media shares only get’s content so far. The secret ingredient is making content powerful enough to elicit an actual conversation between two individuals.