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Takeaways from a talking dog

If you haven't seen the video below...before you even read another word, just watch it. Assuming you are one of the over 19 million (yes...19 million) people who have already viewed the footage, let's also notice that the video was first uploaded on May 1 of this year.  So in less than a month, it has earned over 19 million views.

 

Why?  How did the video go THAT viral THAT quickly?

Viral is the new holy grail for marketing.  Everyone wants a video to go viral.  So they make a video and tweet about it and put it on Facebook and a few people watch it, but there's nothing viral about it.

So can we glean some takeaways from the talking dog?  (And the Diet Coke and Mentos, and the smoking toddler and the wedding party dance)

KISS:  Keep it simple, stupid.  None of these videos were over-produced.  They were a little raw, very real and no one edited them to perfection.  Part of their appeal is the every man quality about them.

Two ends of the emotional spectrum:  Most viral videos are either very funny to the point of being absurd or very sad to the point of being emotionally wrenching.  I immediately think of the "don't text and drive" videos that have been cropping up.  If they're going to be shared -- the videos have to take us to the edge.

Fresh:  There are very few sequels in the viral video world. (With the exception of the "Will it Blend" series) If we're going to share it with others, we want to be pretty sure they haven't seen anything like it before. That's why the Embrace Life video was so wildly popular.  

No overt selling:  Think of the viral videos I've listed here.  Very few were selling anything.  And even those that were created by a commercial entity -- the sales "pitch" was subtle if detectable at all. The sponsors/advertisers recognized that they'd have to sacrifice big logos, features & benefits copy points, and a call to action if they wanted the videos to spread.

That's a pretty tall order when you add it all up.  It takes a pretty confident organization to be willing to be in the background while something funny or horrific takes center stage -- all while resisting the urge to over produce.

But when it happens -- it's magic.  Unfortunately, it's not a magic trick that you can just practice until you get it right!  When it happens, it happens...

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