The difference between past Super Bowls and the present plans is the timing of their release. Most ads are now debuting before the Sunday night of the game so viewers can increase the buzz beforehand. For marketers, an attempt to create viral activity outweighs the impact of surprise for the actual game.
The word “viral” has been spreading through our culture just like that — virally.
“Viral” today is used daily in social media/marketing and just recently became a noun (along with an adjective and a verb). It is easy to forget the term had earlier origins—only referring to medicine before the 21st Century.
In today’s world, viral could refer to just about anything. Ads, news articles, videos, emails, album releases and even conversations all have the potential to make the viral list. Our big question now is “what makes something go viral?” What is more interesting is that a very small entrepreneurial company can gain overnight success with a viral video.
There really isn’t a specific formula, but we can make some deductions from our observations. My favorite viral YouTube videos had 6 factors that caught my eye. What you may notice is that even though I categorized them by their overarching impact, most have several of these factors in each.
See if you pick them out in your own favorites.
Timing is everything, and Beats headphones by Dr. Dre could not have planned it better. Richard Sherman’s outbreak after winning the big Seattle Seahawks vs. 49ers football game had the pot already stirred, and their ad only continued the conversation. Touching on a relative conversation increases the likelihood of someone “stumbling” on your ad or video.
Celebrities: Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout
If a celebrity is in an ad, people are 10x more likely to click whatever link it is connected to. Let’s face it—they may get paid a lot for these spots, but the spots also work. Watch “The Selfie Shootout” with Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant. What do you get when you put two favorite global stars in one ad? Money. Also, note that this ad was posted December 3rd and Obama was caught taking a selfie December 15th. Timing is everything.
Tears, laughter, inspiration and excitement are all included in this. Parodies, someone helping others and different forms of encouragement all strike a note with people enough to share with others. Note the increasing popularity of Upworthy and what their brand represents. Their popularity is driven by emotional pull. For this year’s Super Bowl, not one, but two ads have hit the consumers hearts perfectly and they have the view counts on YouTube to prove it.
Extreme Content: Go Pro: Backflip Over 72ft Canyon – Kelly McGarry Red Bull Rampage 2013
Going along with the emotional theme, having extreme content is in a league of its own. Whether playing with lions or flying down a mountain, GoPro has fueled viral content surrounding extreme situations since they began making ads. Look at this backflip over a 72-foot canyon and tell me you don’t want to watch it again.
Informational Value: Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
TED Talks are all for the informative minds wanting to learn from specialists around the world. Think about how many times you have googled “how to…” when you are wanting to learn something quickly.
Posting any ad with music is like having TRL at your fingertips. People can watch music videos and listen to their favorite songs for free. Music can also create a larger impact in normal videos. Take a look at the “wing suit” video above and pay attention to the music. It times perfectly with the emotion of the event and led many viewers to downloading “Sail” by AWOLNATION.
In the ever-changing 21st century market, viral advertising and videos give marketers a new insight into the never-ending question of what consumers want. The big question that should now be asked is what can we do with it?