The Smell of Success

14 Oct

How do you make a viral video? Lately it seems as if anyone and everyone is capable, as long as you can get enough people to like it, tweet it, or repost it. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be extremely entertaining. The recipe just calls for word of mouth through social media. Each year, the number of one-hit-wonder internet sensations continues to grow and create all sorts of buzz to keep consumers amused. Yet the trend of viral videos is already starting to take a back seat to a new form of entertainment: the videos made from the viral videos. It may seem obvious that a parody of a parody would be comical enough to deter viewers from the original content, but this is an idea that individuals, companies and industry professionals have taken advantage of.

Some viral videos, such as the Antoine Dodson Bed Intruder interview, quickly became a song thanks to the help of two guys and an auto-tune processor. A little over a month after the video aired on youtube, the song had sold 100,000 copies on iTunes and had made the Billboard Top 100.  The video now has over 30 million views in less than three months.

That success however, was unintentional. On the other hand, some companies have started strategically remaking popular videos, with what seems to be hopes of gaining some recognition. Sesame Street just recently parodied the popular Old Spice deodorant commercial, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” with the show’s blue monster, Grover. The spoof, “Smell Like a Monster,” received several million hits within the first few days. But what is interesting is that this was aired on Sesame Street, a childrens television show. Here you see an attempt to connect with not only the generation playing with stuffed animals, but also the parents and older family members that understand the hidden joke in the skit. I think that using viral videos can be an excellent tool for public relations because it has the power to connect to many different audiences. The toddlers are laughing and the grown-ups are laughing. But the adults have the power to share that laughter with others, which they are very likely to do.

I am curious to see what is to come with the next big viral sensations, because people are quickly catching on that there is a lot of potential power with popular videos. If used effectively to connect and communicate with people, great change could possibly evolve from a silly little youtube video, especially when you have 30 million people watching.


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