Viral videos – can you catch the bug twice?

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  • October 23, 2009
Joel Turner

Joel Turner

Everyone loves a good viral video and when successfully executed they can deliver a real boost for your brand – spreading a message or just getting you mentioned and noticed. But can you replicate viral success time and again?

The question came to mind when I heard that one of my favourite virals of recent times was getting a sequel.

J’aime la Tour

Commissioned by visitBlackpool to promote tourism, this clip gives a humorous take on the Lancashire town, comparing it to Paris with a cinematic nod to French cinema thrown in.

This video is undoubtedly very clever, but by viral conventions isn’t particularly humorous, is a little slow paced and doesn’t really wow.

Despite that it still attracted 60,000 viewers on YouTube because what really made it stand out when uploaded earlier this year was its ability to jump vertically between different media channels. It had crossover appeal which was capitalised on by an effective PR campaign.

While people sharing your video on facebook, twitter, or even through good old fashioned emails is great, it is never likely to have real penetration unless it migrates to other channels.

Mainstream media remains the biggest game in town and successful PR  increased viewers and the video’s spread. National TV coverage included BBC News and Sky News, with newspaper coverage including the Daily Mail and a host of regional newspapers and websites.

This was in effect a great PR campaign based around a solid, but not spectacular video.

Repeat success?

A lot what we do online is about the ‘new’. People want  a succession of exciting, fun and interesting experiences (as pointed out, describing it as ‘nowism’).

The media is no different and is constantly looking for fresh content and stories – especially in the 24-hour news cycle we now inhabit.

In that environment can we expect virality to strike twice? It does sometimes as Blendtec’s Will it Blend? series and VW’s recent Fun Theory videos have shown -  but they are the rare exception.

If you can get one of your viral masterpieces off the ground you should consider it a success – thousands have failed in the same quest, lacking the resources to mount a PR campaign that would help it jump between channels and gain mainstream penetration.

In essence though viral videos are an opportunity to look creatively at your brand or products. While they might not lead to overnight YouTube stardom they can give you a fresh perspective on marketing . People like fun, engaging content –whether it is a video, news story, tweet, picture, or podcast.

So will the second video share the same success at J’aime la tour? I’ll let you be the judge of that…

Love, from Blackpool

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