What Made Kony 2012 Viral?
Kony 2012, made by Invisible Children, Inc. to promote its “Stop Kony” efforts, took a week to get more than 82 million views on YouTube only, making it the most viral video in history so far.
What’s behind its virality and what can CMOs learn from it?
The mini-documentary encourages its viewers to tweet culture-makers and policymakers so that they themselves tweet about Kony 2012 and talk about it in the media. Culture-makers who have already responded include Angelina Jolie, Oprah, Kim Kardashian, and Justin Bieber.
The amount of followers they have, made the 30 minute documentary the most viral video in history.
Just because celebrities are told to tweet about something, doesn’t mean they will do so without actually looking at the video. Their names are brand names and they will protect their statuses.
Despite the criticism surrounding Invisible Children and oversimplification of the video’s message, the celebrities tweeted about Kony 2012 because it touched their emotional buttons. The most moving part of the video is when we are introduced to Jacob, who would rather die than live, so that he can see his brother.
Kony 2012 is not a traditional video in that it is 30 minutes long. And, most likely, not every one of the millions of viewers has watched the clip from beginning to end. Despite that, the video has a unique Facebook/Youtube format which presents the documentary as if it is already being shared, telling its audience to hop on the bandwagon.
Making a Difference
The first minute of the documentary shows how YouTube and Facebook are changing the world with their ability to connect people, pointing to the Tunisian revolution.
Also, a clip of Hitler implies that Kony is on the same level as the dictator of Nazi Germany. Kony 2012 makes you feel as if you can change the world through the simple act of sharing a YouTube video.
Kids are used by marketers because they are authentic and because we like to look at cute things. What else can explain the 38 million views that this kitten video has?
Jason Russell’s son, Gavin, was prominently featured in the video, reflecting the type of children that have been abducted in Uganda. Gavin’s learning about Kony lends legitimacy to Russell’s arguments and gives the audience cute eye candy.
Although Kony 2012 has the backing of multiple A-list celebrities, its video stills relies on emotion, a unique format, social pressure, and appealing visuals, elements that you should take into account when making your own viral video.
Nickolay Lamm is an internet marketing specialist who updates InventHelp Scam Watch.