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I won’t lie: I’m a Donald Trump junkie. Not in the “I’d like to see him run for president” kind of way. Rather the “I love his show, Celebrity Apprentice, because I love business and creative thinking,” kind of way.

That being said, a couple Sundays ago, I was watching his show, and rapper Lil Jon took on the role of project manager for a task that involved making a commercial to sell a videophone.

Now, I’m one of those viewers who always has an opinion. I can typically call a good or bad idea when I hear or see it, and I thought for sure, Lil Jon and his team were pushing the limits with their idea on selling the videophone. That is, until I saw the actual presentation.

The team decided to push some boundaries by introducing parents to a fiancé via the videophone. The twist was that the son was homosexual and it was apparently a surprise. It had a comedic element which is outside the normal “pull at the heart strings” take that brands typically use to sell products such as these. Now, the video was creative and completely out of the box, which, in past seasons of the show, with a product of this nature, contestants have tried to push it and failed. (Ps…I’ve seen every single season of The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice.)

What worked for Lil Jon, was how he presented the commercial. He used two keywords that had everyone excited: VIRAL and SUPER BOWL.  When you combine those anticipated aspects, companies can indeed see themselves push limits with video.  I’m honestly not sure his team would have won had he not brought up the concept of viral.

So what makes video go viral?

First, there’s a common misconception that “viral” is a verb. You can’t “make” something go “viral.” Viral is rather a collective entity. It’s a thing. It’s a concept.  It just is because it’s passed along.  So, a better question to ask could be, what are the key elements that you see in videos that end up being viral and becoming massive sensations?

1. Humor — There’s typically an element of humor in the video. A popular video that comes to mind would be like the kid who left the dentist office. I know you watched this…and laughed. And I bet you shared it too. 

2. Cuteness — Okay, a lot of times something is cute. Remember the cats playing patty cake? That was pretty adorable.

3. Resonates — Not all viral video is funny and adorable. Think about the bully that gets body slammed because of his mean nature. Some people look at that and share because they understand how it is to be bullied.

4. Downright ridiculous — The song, “Friday” by Amanda Black has over 60 million views. Why? Maybe its because she’s just a high school kid like everyone else. I know I saw it because someone was asked me “how did this kid get over 60 million views?” One, the song could be catchy, it’s definitely kid-ish…but hey, at least this kid is creating something.

5. Shocking — Going back to the bully video, let’s admit it…it was kind of shocking. People tend to watch, like, and then share video where people get hurt but you know they aren’t going to die. Sometimes shock element is key in whether a video will go viral.

There are typically ironic ways we like or dislike something. If you can create something to get a buzz going, then your video may have a chance at becoming a viral sensation. The key is in creating. That’s where your verb is.  What will you create?



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