The age of Viral Videos


Today’s guest post is written by Krishnakumar – fondly called KK – CEO of one of the well known digital media agency based in Mumbai. While I was having a chat with him last week, he mentioned that most of the corporates have been requesting him to come out with viral videos, so I requested him to write a short piece on Viral Marketing through online videos and probably share some of them with our readers.

Here it is…

Viral Marketing has acquired a following of its own amongst marketers in India. This form of marketing online can be credited to the porn industry. I don’t need to elaborate on what got circulated & how popular it got. All you need to do is search for the word sex on you tube & check out how people are innovatively using that word to help popularize their content even if has nothing to do with the actual act. Interesting!

Now coming back to our subject on Viral Marketing: Branded viral films especially, have been created by several top corporates across categories, FMCG/ Travel/ Finance/ Durables – and the common link across all the viral films is spoofs/ humour. Humour plays a key role in viral marketing. Think about it – what do you forward the most? Something that’s funny, a joke, a funny pic… in order for someone to forward a brand message, it needs to be either edgy or laugh-out-loud funny or unbelievable. Given that the corporate world would not venture anywhere close to sexual connotations.

I came across a few such branded video virals recently. Lenovo has created a viral video for the ideapad based on the fact that the notebook has an anti-scratch screen. The viral has a character Swami Talon-tino & it’s about his life, with the notebook feature thrown in as part of the story. What makes for a viral as opposed to an ad film is the integration of the product with the story, something that’s not overtly branded, but subtle. That’s when the story is more important and so is the intrigue value. That’s what gives it the viral potential to be forwarded to friends.

Lenovo viral video on their anti-scratch videos

Apart from video films, the hot trend in recent times has been animated flash films – especially spoofs on Bollywood – this has been attempted by brands across categories, whether is dotcoms, banks, insurance companies or confectioneries. What makes these films a success? Whacky stories from movies we are familiar of with interesting sound effects. Here are a few examples.

  • Learn Bhangra in 55 seconds
  • SBI Cards Mailer

The downside, after so many brands have done this, the ‘novelty’ value to flash films is wearing off; everything from Sholay to Deewar has been spoofed. So the script is now paramount and ideas need to go beyond Bollywood too.

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