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Believability

It has been a big week for the Internet with an Australian advertising agency revealing that after conducting a Viral Video experiment for the last 2 years they have finally cracked the formula for creating viral videos.  So what happens next?

If you work for an advertising agency the good news is that on the back of this news you should expect an avalanche of clients requesting a viral video to support their new marketing campaigns.  At least in Australia we have just had an election so we have escaped our politicians thinking that this will be an effective way to buy some votes for the next few years, although for those in the United States you are not so lucky.  But then again anything Donald Trump says is likely to go viral without the help of even well-developed viral formula.

As a consumer of content you should expect to see a whole lot more suspicious looking videos flooding your feeds.  I would expect that these videos are going to get more ridiculous as people run out of original ideas.  How many swimmers fighting sharks or snowboarders being chased by a bears will it take until we all become a little more suspicious?

The good news is there is a way to fight back.  As consumers we all should become a little more curious. 

The creative commentary supporting a photo of a wolf pack walking in single file through the snow claiming the first three wolves are old or sick and set the pace for the rest of the pack…it is not true.  All it takes is a quick Google search and you will find a truckload of comments by experts proclaiming this is just a wolf pack walking in the snow and there is no order to the line they have formed.

The girl being chased by a bear whilst snowboarding was very realistic, except for the fact that the girl herself remained anonymous despite the extraordinary number of views her video was generating. Less than 48 hours after the video created by Texas mother Candace Payne heartily laughing while wearing a Star Wars Chewbacca mask went viral she was on nearly every talk show across America, met movie stars and was guest of honour at the Facebook campus.

So by becoming more curious we can thwart this attempt by agencies who think they have discovered the formula for tricking us to instantly like or share any semi-believable content we view.  Then again I am sure that no on reading this was fooled by any of these unbelievable videos.

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