Moving on and all things viral

The more observant among you may have noticed that I have switched jobs.  After almost eight wonderful years at Porter Novelli, I’ve joined MOFILM, which most of you probably haven’t heard of. More specifically I’ve joined MOFILM Social, which you definitely haven’t heard of as we haven’t really announced it yet.

MOFILM helps aspiring filmmakers create video for big brands and social causes, MOFILM Social is going to help the big brands work out the best way to use that, and other, content. It’s incredibly exciting and there are some very tasty little projects under way that I’m already writing the award submissions for in my head.

What it does mean is that I’m even more fascinated by video content and what its possibilities than ever before, though I’ve got slightly less twitchy about the use of word viral.

So Bruce Daisley‘s talk at the London Business School, in conjunction with BIMA on Tuesday 28 September was of great interest to me. Not just because I now have a reference point for the stat that by ‘by 2013, 90 % of web traffic will be video’ but also because he had some interesting things to say about what makes a video go viral. It also made me question what we actually mean by viral.

Do we go by views? I’ve seen some people claim that they’ve made a ‘viral’ and it’s had less than 200 views. I’ve also seen people say that they are making a ‘viral’, which should surely be I’ve made some content that I’m hoping will spread really quickly from person to person in an infectious stylee.

An Ad Age article from a couple of days ago tries to explore the possibility of a formula for creating a viral, it even suggests that PnG may have cracked it, focusing on the succes of brands such as Old Spice and Gillette. As with many articles, it’s the comments that are the most interesting parts. This one in particular caught my eye.

What’s interesting with most branded viral videos thus far is that they aren’t harnessing the power of what truly makes viral video popular; the spontaneity of real user posted content and extensions beyond the medium itself.

Is that the new definition or benchmark of success? Do people need to love a peace of content so much that they copy it, or make derivatives? One of the markers Bruce gave for something that might go viral naturally was that it was laugh out loud funny. This piece from Sussex Safer Roads campaign can definitely be described as something that went viral, yet I’d be amazed if anyone made a copy of it.

Embrace – Sussex Safer Roads

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