How to make a branded viral video

July 24, 2012 in The Work

YouTube recently stated that 500 years worth of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook every single day, and each minute 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter. Television viewers — with the help of new technology — are increasingly able to bypass commercials, so getting an audience to share your branded video is as important as ever. However, making a viral video that showcases your brand is definitely difficult. At least one  ad agency thinks they’ve gotten the formula puurfect.

After dissecting 130 viral videos, psychologist Dr. Brent Coker says that all viral videos have three common traits: synergy, affinity and emotion.

Much debate has surrounded the idea of what makes a video go viral. Mashable offers some advice on making your video go viral. But don’t forget the brand. There are no hard and fast rules, and the best way to examine the topic may be by examining branded viral video successes.

Skittles: Touch Cat (6.3 million YouTube views)

Capitalizing on cat videos — with a twist — Skittles gets extra credit for sparking viewer engagement with its viral video success. What brand could make you put your finger on your computer screen and subsequently giggle like a little girl? The gesture, no doubt, makes an added connection with the viewer. Skittles didn’t end their run with just one video. They launched an entire viral video campaign around the same concept and it has repeatedly paid off.

DC Shoes

DC Shoes has shown that creating longer big budget videos is one way to feature a brand and also have a way for a video to go viral. They’ve also upped the cool factor on the Ford Fiesta, which in its earlier incarnation was most likely assumed to be a clown car. Now the Fiesta is rallying through a Universal Studios obstacle course and using the entire city of San Francisco as its playground. Both of these seem unlikely, but DC Shoes defies the odds. Weighing in at close to 10-minutes these videos are major productions and require an investment of a viewer’s time. Still, they’ve spread like wildfire.

Ken Block’s Gymkhana Four: The Hollywood Megamercial (19.3 million YouTube views)

Ken Block’s Gymkhana Five: Ultimate Urban Playground: San Francisco (23.1 million YouTube views)

Dollar Shave Club (5.2 million YouTube views)

“Do you think your razor needs a vibrating handle, a flashlight, a back-scratcher and 10 blades? Your handsome-ass grandpa only had one blade and Polio.” Nothing too fancy or expensive here. A lot of humor, a bear costume and tracking shots. The focus of the commercial is on the product, explaining how the Dollar Shave Club works. If this informational technique were used with just a static shot of the owner droning on about the benefits of the Dollar Shave Club, you can bet this video would have fallen flat. This commercial made the medicine go down with a healthy dose of humor while garnering 5.2 million views on YouTube. It helps that CEO Mike Dubin has a background in digital marketing and brand development. He was also trained with the Upright Citizens Brigade, learning improv and sketch comedy.

Panda Cheese: Never Say No To Panda (16.5 million YouTube views)

This series of branded viral videos don’t even require subtitles to get the point across. They’re very shareable and each one features a different variety of Panda Cheese.

If you’re looking for more videos to study here’s a collection of more than 700. Oh, and if you’re still looking for more cat videos, here’s a festival that will pander to your tastes. We’re not making a judgement. They’re adorable.

What’s your favorite viral video and why do you think it went viral? Let us know in the comments.