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viral Archives - The X Gene

Zack G and Barack Obama on Between Two Ferns

Why Obama Making Fat Jokes Worked

By | Marketing, Video, Viral Video | No Comments

We finally got around to watching Prezi Barry Obams on Between Two Ferns, and from the first time The President makes fun of Galifianakis’ weight we were giggling our heads off. He calls the President a nerd! The thing we really like, though, is this video that is exactly like all the other Between Two Ferns – awkward, brash, stilted, deliciously mean spirited and funny – was used by the White House to boost sign ups at HealthCare.gov. They wanted to reach out and plug the site so more people signed up to their reformed healthcare system and ensure they have coverage after the imposed cutoff date. According to White House  communications advisor Tara McGuiness, it worked.

 

Funny or Die is Will Ferrel and Adam McKay’s comedy video site, and it hosts Between Two Ferns. It worked. Here’s what you can learn from all this to get your own stuff moving via video:

THIS VIDEO WAS EMBEDDED EVERYWHERE

The video was hosted on FunnyorDie.com, but there were comms advisors from the White House and media and PR people from Funny or Die speaking with and making aware every website that could possibly place the video into their own articles or blogs. I saw it on The Verge, but you could also find it on (as a smattering):

  • Huffington Post
  • E! Online
  • YouTube
  • Variety
  • Forbes
  • NY Daily News
  • Popwatch
  • The Wrap
  • Gawker
  • Mamamia

That’s a broad collection of audiences.

THERE WAS A BUNCH OF METADATA

Wherever the video appeared, there was at least a link to HealthCare.gov and you need that, you need the call to action and then a quick way for someone to execute that action. The best way for this all to work is when the form matches the function. This is a digital video, posted online, to drive traffic to another website. All someone has to do is click a link. Secondary follow up: make a phone call. But a link in an online video is the best way to take advantage of it all.

DON’T BE AFRAID

Before you worry about using comedy or something different to promote your stuff, think really hard about this: the President (stakes!) went on a show that is famous for being cruel to its guests, and makes fat jokes. Do you really think making light of white goods, or being silly with a corporate message is that scary?

Dollar signs over the annoying orange

Hey Apple! Annoying Orange Shows How Far Viral Video Web Series Can Take You

By | Technology, Video, Viral Video | No Comments

Not sure what good viral videos or web series are? Annoying Orange, a web series started by Dane Boedigheimer in 2009, can tell you – in his whiney, high pitched voice.

“In 2010, Boedigheimer’s YouTube channel had almost 350 million views and earned an income of $288,000 from ads.” – wikipedia

Yep. And what really hit home was when one of our X-agents was walking through Sunshine Plaza in Melbourne’s outer suburbs (of all places!) and came across this:

That’s an arcade booth, one of those ‘use the hook to get the prize’ machines, full of Annoying Orange merchandise, with the video itself playing on a screen in the back.

The series has been re-broadcast on Cartoon Network, has accessories, toys, clothing, a Halloween outfit and a mobile video game.

That’s what viral videos and web series are good for. Contact us to start your own.

Terry Tate office linbacker comedy viral memes

Three Types of Viral Video: 2. Funny Bone Activation

By | Video, Viral Video | 2 Comments

At The X Gene, we love researching video. One of the types we dissect is viral video. From our crazy experiments and field research, we’ve noticed there are three general categories of viral video. We try and direct our clients to these when discussing video productions, and now you can see what we’ve got to say.

The second is the Funny Bone Activation category.

UPDATE: If the President of the USA can be funny and make fat jokes, what are you really worried about with your brand?

(See also: 1. Did That Happen!? and 3. Sexy NSFW.)

Comedy has always been a fantastic loosener. It’s like a massage that relaxes your audience, making them happier to accept the messages you’re broadcasting. But it has to be funny. That’s bold-italics-underline because it’s the most important. Funny viral shouldn’t be considered lightly. If a video campaign tries to be funny and fails, you lose a whole lot of cool points and set your reputation positioning back to before you brainstormed the campaign. What’s the best way to make sure something is going to be funny? Hire writers and/or comedians. People who dedicate their lives to understanding humour (and need to in order to survive) have a far greater chance of getting the gums giggling. You can oversee the funny-makers, however, by ensuring you understand the audience you’re reaching, and what that audience finds funny.

A superbowl star for Reebok. Combining office humour and football = massive.

Styles of comedy vary from group to group. We at The X Gene love hearing a client’s profile of their brand, and who they want to reach. Sometimes that’s the group that already epitomise the brand; sometimes that’s a new group of people lured to the fold. The comedy stylings of ad campaigns run by, say, Lynx (Axe) Body spray are vastly different to that of Hewlett Packard. Understanding the brand, the audience, then trusting the right writers, comedians, actors, and director to employ the right style is crucial.

Rhys Darby, from Flight of the Conchords, boosted this internal campaign’s juice.

Often, due to the recognisable names in a comedy campaign, social network support is employed to make sure a lot of people notice the star and click through, share, make it easy. Manliest Rituals from Axe Body Spray utilised a customised tab on their Facebook page that acted as a mini-site, thus allowed people to watch the series in Facebook. Sharing was one click away. They also built a regular site, but in-app presence  is an increasingly necessary way to make your audience aware of the campaign you (and your writers) have put time and effort into.

A cruder humour for a teenage, frat boy audience is a lot of fun to make!

Johnny Bravo dropping his jaw to the floor

Three Types of Viral Video: 1. Did That Happen!?

By | Video, Viral Video | 2 Comments

At The X Gene, we love researching video. One of the types we dissect is viral video. From our crazy experiments and field research, we’ve noticed there are three general categories of viral video. We try and direct our clients to these when discussing video productions, and now you can see what we’ve got to say.

The first viral video category is Did That Happen!?.

(See also: 2. Funny Bone Activation and 3. Sexy NSFW.)

These are the sorts of videos that make us doubt whether we’re seeing special effects or something incredible and real happening before our very eyes. They require heavy special effects, and are best accomplished through a shaky camera style or low resolution, faked ‘camera phone’ look. Making the video look like it was done with a camera phone adds to the illusion that the recorder just happened to be there at the exact time, or was running with a group to capture the amazing event. These videos require substantial planning, funnily enough, because the effects in post-production require a great deal of time and money. Compositing is hard enough, let alone compositing over the top of a poorly-lit jet that jitters and blurs in the frame.

Marc Ecko tags Air Force One… or does he!?!?!

The Did That Happen!? style of viral video is shared and passed around because people want to show one another this amazing thing they’ve seen. They feel the ‘wow’ in their gut, as if they were watching it live, or had seen something secretly amazing that no one else has yet witnessed. Passing it on to a friend or family member endows the sharer with a feeling that they found it first, and are exposing it to the world via their Facebook, Twitter or blog. They want their friends to feel that ‘wow’ as well, and love being the ones who gave them that ‘wow’.

OMG! Look at this squirrel. Real? Probably!