Archive | July 2012

5 ways to make your video viral

With Adobe Creative Week taking place we thought it might be useful to sketch out a few ideas we’ve gathered for those attempting to boost their chances of creating one of those ever-elusive viral videos.

There’s no doubt that viral video is effective: from individual animation and movie creative to marketing and sales pitches, if you can push your video above the public perception parapet you can make money, wield influence and build your name.

However, the sad truth is that even with the best advice in the world it’s ever so hard to predict what works and what doesn’t. It’s best to think of it as trying to create a hit single – some you win, some you, well, some you don’t win. Success is unpredictable so here are some tips to maximize your chances.

Vegan Black Metal Chef: This uniquely different cooking guide has attracted nearly two million views so far: why? Its simple message and humorous approach keeps people engaged all the way through. 


Simplicity is sexy. Over-complex ideas don’t necessarily match the ADHD tendencies of the digital generation. Just because you have hours of video assets on your virtual cutting room floor doesn’t mean you have to use them all. You need to get to the point fast using images, music and audio that adds to, rather than detracts from, the impact of the presentation. Do you really need that corporate logo in the top right of the view?

Simplicity demands structure. You need to keep your simplicity defined and your story progressive (and engaging) from the first frame if you want to capture the viewer. That also includes the key frame — how many potentially cool video clips have you seen in which the impact has been ruined by a poor choice of static frame, i.e. the frame you see before you hit ‘Play’?

Evolution of dance: Lovingly crafted and ever so slightly amusing, this clip’s attracted just under 200 million viewers so far.


Call it passion, honesty, even integrity if you want. Keep your message focused on what you’re trying to say and put some character inside the presentation.

Character can be you, a chosen performer, or even the quirky individualistic nature of the concept behind the video itself. Don’t compromise with what’s been done before — if you want to make it viral then you need to blaze your own trail. Viewers respond to sincerity.

Viewers also respond to a catchy title. The video makers at Seedwell point to three thematic categories that often work in the viral space:

  • Parody
  • Cuteness
  • Surprise

Authenticity is part of this. You need the video to be believable. If it does include an ad you should include it as an afterthought. That may sound counter-intuitive when it comes to the cost of the project – but the online world is all about reputation, a reputation for producing good or amusing material beats a reputation for doing that while pushing your marketing message. Over a million viewers have watched this clip that shows a skydiver using his smartphone to book his hotel as he falls to the beach outside the place he plans to stay at.


The Holy Grail of viral videolism (a new word) is if you produce something that’s newsworthy in itself.

  • got some media attention when it ran a clip showing a skydiver jumping out of his plane to land on the beach outside the hotel he booked on his smartphone while making the jump.
  • Google did something a little similar when it used skydivers to punch home the message of Google Glass last month.
  • Then there’s the ever-emerging crop of clips in which iPads and other Apple objects are blended, shot at, run over or otherwise mangled for fun and entertainment.

Parodies of popular TV shows and huge doses of tongue-in-cheek humour also help — but remember the Internet is international, so try to avoid presenting localized humour if you’re chasing an international audience. Just because everyone in the UK thinks something is funny doesn’t necessarily tickle the funny bone of your potential viewers in Kazakhstan, for example.

Ted Rose: This soothing clip comes from an independent UK video artist with a reputation for originality and original expression.

Creativity and daring-do

Sometimes it’s about doing things that have never been done before. Moving boldly forward to explore new worlds, if you like.

  • (above) showed what daring do can do to drive a message home.
  • Completely independent UK artist, Edward Rose plays with art, old print images and his musical skills to create some quite mesmerising pieces, the most popular of which has been seen over seven million times.

It isn’t enough just to do something new for the sake of it, to get the best results what’s happening must also possess some passion and integrity.

Why you choose to do it this way must be clearly related to the message. If you need to explain it, you’ve already lost. It’s the passion thing (above).

Self-talk: Published earlier this month this clip’s already attracted just under six million viewers. The idea’s pretty hard to emulate — it features video captured 20 years ago by the artist.

Timing and originality

If you aim to do something topical, then you need to develop news sense — the ability to present your clip at the best possible time for the topic.

Originality helps as well — there’s no point copying other peoples’ ideas if you want to make something that’s viral: there’s a big difference between emulation and inspiration. The above clip’s completely original, featuring a conversation between the 32-year old video maker spliced into a video he filmed of himself 20-years ago.

So there you have it, a few ideas which might help aspiring creatives deliver that viral clip they’re working towards. Do you have anything you’d like to add to this conversation? If so please let us know in comments below.

Latest Reel London production in association with Dreamtek

Watch the latest YouTube production for Reel London. What does your Reel London look like?

Shoot a 90 Second video documenting what you think the real London is….. Selected Videos to be shown on the website and a lucky winner gets his or her mitts on a copy of Adobe Creative Suite!

Is original expression a luxury we can’t afford?

adobe creative week registration

Register for Adobe Creative Week

By Jonny Evans

A series of online symposia marking Adobe’s Creative Week event begins July 9. In the prelude to the show, Adobe has published extensive research which reveals that while creativity seems more important than ever, only one-in-three creative professionals feel they’re getting the chance to fully realise their potential. That’s tragically ironic: economic malaise and global gloom means creative pros are being asked to be more productive than ever, but the focus increasingly seems on quantity, not quality, reading between the lines.

The State of Create report tells us that over three quarters (78 per cent) agree creativity is key to driving economic growth but just a third (35 per cent) feel they are living up to their creative potential. Being a creative professional isn’t just about pounds and productivity, though: Adobe reveals that 78 percent of us feel that being able to create makes a difference to their lives; 71 percent say it defines who they are as a person while 68 percent say they derive a sense of belonging from the creative act.

The UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport estimates (December 2011) the creative industry accounts for 10.6 percent of the UK’s exports of services. Creativity isn’t just good for the economy, either, 1.5 million people are employed in the creative industries. That’s 5.1 percent of those people who are employed in the UK.

Expression versus productivity

This suggests the power to create mini masterpieces in any digital medium isn’t just about fulfilling client obligation, but also about creating a space in the world. Creative expression stretches the psychic envelope. Adobe’s survey suggests creativity is about personal empowerment; self-realisation; self-actualisation. And, like all such attempts to forge a little slice of identity within a homogenous planet, there’s plenty to get in the way, typical barriers include:

— Education: Many creatives think creativity is stifled by the education system.

— Lack of time: Almost half of those surveyed by Adobe think there isn’t the time to be creative.

— Lack of cash: 42 percent of creatives say they can’t afford to be creative — a shame when you consider the personal and societal benefits of the creativity biz.

Perhaps the biggest pressure is the need to be productive.

An astonishing 88 percent of creative pros complain they’re under huge pressure (and it’s growing) to be productive, rather than to be creative.

Technology and the social network

Can technology help enable creative expression while also satisfying enterprise in its need to be productive? Anecdotally, the impact of technology has been to create a situation in which more is asked of a smaller pool of talent. Adobe notes that 53 percent of creatives already see technology as the single most important factor inspiring them to create.

You need good tools if you want to realise abstract ideas here in the physical plane, so it’s no surprise that many (67%) see technological tools as the most influential factor to help them boost their own creativity. The Internet is also a big influences: social media is driving a new form of creative renaissance. 48 percent of creatives spoken to by Adobe for its survey note the ability to share work via social media is important, with 12 percent saying this new era of immediate communication between friends and strangers is inspiring them to create.

Speaking at the recent Le Web conference, TV chef Jamie Oliver spoke up for creativity in the social media era. Oliver believes social media is a vehicle for passionate expression of ideas. “Content is key,” he said, likening the creation of it to the challenges of making a “hit song”. “You don’t always know what will work,.” As a creative thinker, Oliver explains, “Everything I do is driven by creative ideas, if they’re good enough, I’m going to make money. If not, then not.”

Also at Le Web, Bonin Bough, Kraft’s vice president of global digital and consumer engagement, said: “I think there’s a renaissance of creativity about to happen….what we’re seeing now is nothing in contrast to what we’ll see in future.”

With its focus on social media, Le Web confirmed that big business is anxious to stake a claim in the social networks. Adobe’s study also confirms a drive among creative folk to embrace the space. Naturally, the two sides want different things: Business wants bucks; creatives want a chance to do what they do, but as the social world reveals a growing demand among consumers for original content (a la Jamie Oliver), it’s possible this new business driver will open up new opportunity for self-expression in a digitally-connected age: could this mean a new gold rush for digital creatives? That’s got to be part of the conversation at next week’s Creative Week event.

It’s not too late to join the creative debate, get involved and share your views register at