Five Viral Hits 2011


CREDIT: Levi’s ‘Fake Viral’ 




Five Viral Hits in 2011, including photos of people scared out of their wits, babies playing at being adults, and an ‘ass-cam’.





Nightmares Fear Factory


Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls revealed the power of certain kinds of photography, when the photos of visitors to their Haunted House attraction went viral, going around the web and appearing on ABC News (New York, San Francisco) and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.



The photos were disarmingly honest, but what’s fascinating was the sheer pleasure people around the world took in these pictures of terrified people. Is it a  sadistic pleasure at someone else’s pain? We suggested it was the opposite. A kind of empathy, a kind of second-hand pleasure of ‘fright’, where we can imagine the fear without actually having to experience it. And the framing of the imagery was also compelling, each photo shot from a similar angle and in a similar place. It has the format of an art project without all the baggage. A study, a typology of fear.



Will it Blend?


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Only two viral campaigns have been watched over 100 million times, according to Ad Age in their Top 10 Viral Video Advertisements of All Time. Evian’s Live Young (158 million) and, in the top spot from 2011, Blendtec’s Will it Blend (173 million plus).



Babults (Babies Playing Adults)



Babies mimicking adults was a sure-fire viral YouTube hit in 2011. Creepy cool. Could this genre of baby videos have inspired the Rocksmith Guitar Baby viral (below)?



Film critics just keep getting younger and younger.


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Precociously talented axe-man. Don’t be fooled by the sweet-looking face. On tour has been known to throw toys, poop in pants, and vomit up dinner. Rock ‘n’ Roll!



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Killer Cute



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Columnist Eva Wiseman in The Observer in London confessed to an addiction to ‘cute’. A self-confessed cuteaholic she is one of the 124,987,130 million-plus clicks on the Youtube video of a baby panda sneezing.



She suggests the most popular animal-cute videos (and cute videos are largely fluffy animals) are the ones where animals are mimicking some form of human activity. That’s probably as close a definition you’ll get of animal-cute, certainly fitting the bill of the recent cat-kitten hugs video dominating the viral charts.



Wiseman cites Ethnologist Konrad Lorenz who notes that visual characteristics such as big eyes, big head, and round face ‘stimulate caretaking behaviour.’ Which brings us to the AT&T Samsung Infuse 4G Smartphone spot. For cute addicts this may be the video that tips you over into overdose. Clever and Cute? Cutely Clever?  Too damned cute.







One cyclist’s outrage and desperation over unfair treatment leads to Jackass type video.



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Riding high in the Viral Charts in 2011 was this footage of an exasperated New York cyclist. With over 2.6 million views in just over a week it seemed that slapstick was the best form of propaganda.



Bonus: Fake Virals



Some wonder about the usefulness to brands of ‘Fake Virals’, especially when they are found out. But because they make us ‘suspend our disbelief’, they give us the childish pleasure we used to get from classic fairy tales



Blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction is increasingly a staple of the viral video, and Mashable has provided a useful list of 9 Videos That Are Actually Advertising. They ask, ‘Is it actually better to try to orchestrate a viral campaign in which you distance yourself from the campaign? Are there well-known viral videos out there that are actually ads and we just don’t know about them? Why are so many Australians involved in these things?’ Don’t know about the Australians, but what these pieces do is play up to our desire to believe in them. The great ‘fake’ viral gives us permission ‘to believe’, to suspend our disbelief, just like the cinema before CGI-laden blockbuster. These Fake Virals are fairy tales, rooted in deeper myths and stories.



‘Ass-Cam’– Let’s call it ‘The Girls With Eyes In The Back of Their Heads (!)’ For Levi’s



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The iPhone camera hack. Let’s call it ‘My Magic Wand’ Promo for film Limitless.



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