You’ve probably heard of Viral Marketing.  You may have heard of a Viral Video.  Here’s an example and analysis of some brilliantly executed viral video marketing by LG for one of their flat panel TVs.

First, what is Viral Video?

According to Wikipedia,

A viral video is one that becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites, social media and email. Viral videos often contain humorous content and include televised comedy sketches, such as The Lonely Island‘s Lazy Sunday and Dick in a Box, amateur video clips like Star Wars Kid the Numa Numa videos, The Evolution of Dance, Chocolate Rain on YouTube; and web-only productions such as I Got a Crush… on Obama. Some eyewitness events have also been caught on video and have “gone viral” such as the Battle at Kruger.

I found a helpful image on the Music 3.0 blog that clearly shows the more common types of videos that go viral:

Going viral

Now here’s the viral video:

While it is risky for a manufacturer to essentially advertise their product being stolen, this particular viral video marketing effort was effective – now when I think of a thin flat panel TV, LG is the first to come to mind.

So let’s look at what elements of the video make it an effective viral video marketing effort:

  1. The video looks realistic enough to be believable – it doesn’t appear to be a video marketing effort.
  2. The video is outlandish enough to be something you’d be likely to share – in fact, as of this writing the video has over 3.7 MILLION VIEWS.
  3. The video features the product in a way that’s subtle enough that most people probably don’t realize that the video is designed to promote the LG brand.
  4. It’s not obvious anywhere that it’s a commercial, or even intended to be associated with the brand. The YouTube account where this is uploaded has the name “anlishni” – which has no apparent connection with any corporate brand name I know of.  There’s no indication of Video SEO or other tactics to maximize views, or even any other videos on that user’s channel that could connect the dots to other video marketing efforts.
  5. The video title is very simple, and isn’t even capitalized. “smart thief caught on cam” piques curiosity.  This also furthers the perception that it’s a real security camera video uploaded by an average person.
  6. The video description is short & simple, as if some ordinary person uploaded the video to share – it didn’t try to sell the product or the brand, just the view. “Check out what this guy did in broad daylight!”
  7. The video title also uses a subtle psychological trigger to associate “smart” with LG, as if the thief was smart to choose an LG instead of another brand.  This helps reinforce that LG is a “smart” choice.
  8. The thief is making eye contact with the camera – a little odd at first, but it helps you “connect” with him in an bizarre sort of way.  This is one giveaway that it’s not a “real” security camera video but a marketing effort. Still, it’s like he’s got his eye on a store employee to try to make sure he’s not being watched.  Walking backwards during part of the video, while still looking at the camera, also adds to the oddball nature of the video, subtly builds suspense and keeps the viewer watching to see what he’s going to do next.
  9. Since it doesn’t overtly show the product until the end, it encourages you to watch the video again to see if he really was carrying it the whole time.  It’s visible but not noticeable until the last segment of the video.
  10. The very end of the video lingers on the store entrance with the LG poster in the window that advertises “The World’s Slimmest Television” with the LG logo.  It’s the last thing you see, which helps reinforce LG’s presence in your mind.  It also lingers a few extra seconds after the store employee runs after the thief, further building suspense – is someone else going to run after him, too? Is something else unexpected going to happen?  That few extra seconds also gives the mind time to absorb what your eyes just saw, before the video ends and other suggested videos are shown.  This also helps reinforce the message of the video as well as give you time to read the LG poster in the window.

Video marketing can be a powerful way to grow your business, build your brand, expand your brand awareness, and drive sales.  Viral videos can be extremely effective, but not all videos will get past that tipping point and go viral, even if they’re intended to do so.  Stay tuned for more marketing tips and strategies.

How can you use these insights, tactics and strategies to grow your business?