The story caught my attention on Yahoo News Headlines. I saw this video clip on YouTube when it was freshly featured. The views were barely less than a thousand then. I showed it to my kids using my iPhone. They loved it.
5 days later, the Yahoo news reported 7 million views. I then checked out the video again and saw 15 million views. As I write this article, the video is now 17 million views. That means it’s getting 2 million views a day!
The YouTube video is called “Volkswagon Commercial: The Force”.
This makes a good case study for my videography students. Especially the chapter on YouTube video marketing.
First, let’s understand what this video is all about:
— The video is a TV commercial for a new VolksWagon model.
— It is obviously produced professionally with talents and props.
— No mention of product benefits or features at all, just branding.
— Definitely not a high budget production. No Special effects. (It can be easily recreated in your bedroom, kitchen and garage)
— The VolksWagon Channel has 130 videos, all less than half a million views. (except for one recent video which is riding on its current popularity)
So now the BIG question is… what made it viral?
Let’s analyze 3 points from my video marketing notes.
1. Is the video entertaining, informative or educational?
The video is entertaining, a little informative and not educational. At least I am informed this car starts with a remote control. The small Darth Vader is certainly entertaining. Without facial expression, the body language tells the whole story.
2. Is the video riding on a hot trend?
Is there a trend on “Darth Vader” and “Star Wars”? No trends found on Google Trend and Yahoo Buzz. However, there are 135,000 global Google monthly searches for “Darth Vader”. 1,220,000 for “Star Wars”. The video is targeting a huge market.
3. Is It featured on YouTube Home Page?
The video WAS featured on the front page as part of a Super Bowl Campaign. I doesn’t matter if VW paid for it because the other ads did not get 15 million views. I had one video featured before and I know how it feels to get a million views. Getting featured or spotlighted on YouTube is great exposure.
I am one of the contributors to the success of this VW viral video. Volkswagon did not pay me to do it nor told me to pass it on. The moment I saw it, I showed it to others because I “liked” it. THAT’s the essence of a true viral video… a life of its own.
There’s one other thing I suspect though. This video is highly targeted at Star Wars fans. Star Wars fans who once were boys. I admittedly am one of them.
1. Original Star Wars Music
The music sounds original to me. Even if it was remade, it still sounds exactly like the movie. It triggered pleasant memories as a fan of Star Wars. It would not be the same if it was some other soundtrack.
2. A Star Wars Fan Will Always Be a Star Wars Fan
I became a Star Wars fan as a kid. I still watch replays of Star Wars movies. I have Star Wars games on my iPhone. Of course I like the light saber sound effects.
3. Did the Same Thing as a Boy
When I was a kid, I did what the boy did in the commercial. That made a strong connection with me. I waved my hands and things never moved, to my disappointment. Today, I will please my kids using some remote control.
So that’s my analysis of a successful viral video. Remember, you cannot make a viral video till it becomes one. Volkswagon posted 130 YouTube videos before one made it.
Aspire to make a viral video with more than a million hits? Start shooting and posting quality YouTube videos daily.