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Why Viral Videos Fail

Verizon recently posted an online video called Verizon 4G LTE Rocket Test. The video, shown below shows 4 – 20-somethings shooting a rocket at a Verizon hotspot pinned to a target. It’s short, pretty cool and the excited reaction of the participants seems pretty real. In the end the video fails to create a true viral experience thanks the the very medium they are counting on to do so.

The Comments can Kill You

When I first saw the video I though cool! What guy doesn’t like rockets blowing things up. Then I went to Youtube to watch it again. Hmm, only 5,000 views in 12 days. While not terrible it’s certainly not viral. Then came the sobering part, the comments. The comments proceed to trash this video in so many ways it makes the product they are trying to look cool actually look weak.

Thoughts on making a viral video.

  1. Surprise – surprise people by doing something unexpected.
  2. Shocking – something unexpected AND controversial. Remember not everyone has to like you. Just your target audience.
  3. Funny – Make people laugh. As hard a possible, even at your own expense
  4. Informational – Share some knowledge about your product or industry few know. Use 1 -3 in the process.
  5. Contest with prize – Yes, giving something away always works and it does not have to be something big.

Cool that they blew something up but that only goes so far. It would have worked better if they;

  • Used the phone to launch the rocket then gave an app away for virtual launches online.
  • Attached the phone to the rocket and catapulted it away at the last second.
  • Had the rocket be a dud and drop to the ground just before hitting the target

Here’s the Verizon video. It was in fact informational but in this case the information was not useful and excuse the pun but “misses the mark”

The take-away

If you’re going to do an informational video be sure to make the information people are not going to make fun of.

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