Why There Is No Such Thing Called a “Viral Video”

Viral Video

As anybody working at a digital agency will tell you there comes a time every couple of weeks when you get a call to make a ” viral video”! And the reaction is unanimous in all our heads: “There is no such thing”.

But we still go out and make the video.

What everyone forgets is that like any good meal, the video is just the main course! Now imagine, you make a great TVC but play it once on a random channel and expect everyone to know & see it! Or you create a hard hitting print ad and just put it up on one copy of a newspaper. Get my drift?

What a lot of people forget is that there is nothing that is born “viral”, it has to be made “viral”. The roll out plan, the media plan, the strategy behind the whole campaign for which the video is a core ingredient and is supported by what we do on all relevant platforms…social and otherwise.

But, what about those videos that users put up that go viral ? Isn’t UGC a prime example of how a video doesn’t need a large budget or a large scale media plan to get a wide spread audience? Of course it is, but a true UGC video will never fully follow a brand’s guidelines, nor will it be risk free for the brand. It also has a large chance of not getting an audience, which in the case of advertising is like a chance no one should take.

I’m not saying that we need to make ads under the guise of being digital videos (there’s enough of that happening in the market). Nor am I saying that genuinely good content won’t work. What we truly need to embrace is the essence of a truly well rounded and holistic approach where we create truly engaging content with enough strategy planned around it to ensure it reaches out to the digital audience and most importantly, it reaches out to the right audience for our brand.

And most importantly we need to embrace the ability to look at content in a medium agnostic manner with the ability to be molded into different forms across mediums. Maybe a shorter version for television, an interactive version for the web and a gameified option for mobile. The opportunities are endless, as long as we remember that we need to keep our minds open to interactivity and we need to provide enough support for the video.

So in a nutshell,

  • Build an overall digital strategy around the concept for the video
  • Look at interesting ways to leverage social media, banners and maybe even on-ground instillation to drive traffic towards and also build the concept of the video
  • Employ a smart media plan to ensure the campaign reaches the right audience
  • Don’t oversell or over emphasize on the brand as it will just make it less engaging for consumers
  • Remember that a pre-campaign & post-campaign aspect in the campaign is vital to ensure there are long term positives that come out of the campaign.
  • And lastly, never call it a “viral video”.

Because what we make isn’t for us to consume and be happy about , it’s for the audience out there to find in all the possible platforms they frequent and say ” Wow, I want to share it, can i also tweak it? Maybe create a version of it or better can I be a part of it? “.