What Makes A Viral?

What makes a viral? What’s the difference between something that gets 100 views or 100 000 000 views?

Jennifer Aniston has a thought about it in this ironic YTC for Smart Water that references some viral video phenoms (9 000 000 views):

Here are a few more examples of recent virals.

This is Nyan Cat (1 000 000 views)

BTW, Nyan Cat has his (her?) own site at http://nyan.cat/ – a looping gif loaded as the landing page for this “song” that has tracked 338 000 likes on FB and 27 900 tweets.

This is Mel. She makes animal noises. (1 600 000 views, 1 025 tweets, 8 000 shares on Facebook)

This is a kid getting Bugs Bunny’d (5 000 000 views, 93 000 shares on Facebook, 4 000 Tweets).

In this example, Skittles wants you to touch the rainbow.


Brands often ask creatives to “make me a viral” but for many brands viral means “make me a YouTube clip that has my logo in it as big as possible and talks about my business”.


When it comes to viral, the quantitative elements are the same – keep it short, make it remixable or parody-able. But when it comes to content, you can use anything you want  (celebrities, babies, cats, weird talents, etc) as long as you make it memorable. And the cold honest truth is slogans and logos on their own are not memorable.

The acid test: if you won’t post the clip to your Facebook wall then chances are no-one else will…


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