Viral videos are everywhere, there are music videos that are so bad that everyone has to see how bad they are, parents who document their cute kids doing something incredibly funny or there’s a challenge campaign that is used to create awareness for a larger organization. This last one was the case for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last summer, which was so popular it’s a heavily featured part of the Youtube Rewind:2014 video which mashes together all the most popular Youtube videos redone by popular Youtube stars summing up our year on Youtube.
The ALS Ice Bucket challenge was an interesting type of viral video because it wasn’t just one video that was viewed millions of times, but a video chain where people were doing the challenge and then challenging 3 more people to do it and/or donate $100 to the ALS Association. This led to as of this writing $115 million in donations (http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html) to the ALS Association to be used to continue research about ALS. I can’t think of any organization or business that wouldn’t mind all of the publicity and funds that were raised through this challenge, but how to duplicate this phenomenon?
I don’t believe that this can be duplicated, at least not in the exact same way. The ice bucket challenge was impeccably timed to coincide with the warm weather and is a cause that is dear to many people’s hearts. I don’t think the same results would happen if any other group tried to replicate this, but they may be able to make a new one. Another alternative to putting all the time and research into making another one is to jump on any existing viral video markets. In our last blog post we detailed how Sanjay Mehrota, CEO of SanDisk, took on the challenge and then challenged some fellow tech leaders to also do it. This act did two things-capitalized on a current trend and shows that there’s heart in the corporate Silicon Valley world. San Disk is a company that values the community that it is in and supports it through financial or product donations and through volunteer work. And now they can say they’ve supported their ALS community by helping promote awareness for ALS through the ice bucket challenges which you can watch below.
Viral videos aren’t often made with the intention of becoming viral, many are just videos posted by people wanting to share a fun moment with family and friends. Instead of trying to be the next big thing, corporations should take a leaf out of SanDisk’s book and take advantage of any current trends. And kudos if it’s a trend that creates awareness for worthy causes, such as this last trend. Let’s see what viral video trends will pop up in 2015.